- Hamza Youssef, who was the Minister of Health
- Hamza Yusuf will succeed party leader and Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Hamza Yusuf, 37, won the position of Prime Minister of Scotland, as the first Muslim to lead for the Scottish National Party in the country’s history.
And British media said that Hamza Yusuf will become the first Muslim to lead a major party in the United Kingdom, and he will be the first leader of an ethnic minority in a government delegated from the United Kingdom, a move that will make him head of government after Parliament votes, Tuesday.
Hamza Youssef, who held the position of Minister of Health, won 52.1 percent of the votes of members of the National Party, after a strong competition with Finance Minister Kate Forbes, 32, and former Minister Ash Reagan, 38.
He will succeed Hamza Youssef, leader of the party and Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who suddenly announced her resignation last February, after holding the position for nearly eight years.
Hamza Yusuf said, after being announced president of the party, in a speech from Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, speaking of his two immigrant grandparents from Pakistan in the sixties of the last century: “As immigrants who knew only one word in the English language, they did not imagine in their wild dreams that their grandson would one day be on the cusp of being born.” become First Minister of Scotland.”
He added, “We should all be proud of the fact that today we sent a clear message that neither the color of your skin nor your faith will stand in the way of leading the country that we all call home.”
He is set to be formally chosen by the Scottish Parliament, on Tuesday, to be the next head of government. After that, he will be formally sworn in at the Supreme Court, Wednesday.
This is the first time that the prime ministers of Britain, Scotland and Ireland are of South Asian descent.
Biography of Hamza Youssef
Hamza Youssef was born in 1985, grew up in Scotland, and received his education in private schools, specifically the Hutchesons School, which opened the way for him later in the world of politics, to enroll in his undergraduate studies at the University of Glasgow, and obtain a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree in political science.
In 2019, Youssef married Nadia Al-Nakhla, a Scottish woman of Palestinian descent, whose father and brother live in the Gaza Strip. He had one daughter with her, and was married to former Scottish National Party executive committee member Jill Lythgoe between 2010 and 2017.
Youssef had previously expressed his fears for his wife’s family, after the Israeli aggression on Gaza. In 2021, he wrote on Twitter, “The wife has been crying all night. Her brother lives in Gaza with his wife and three young children. He tells us it’s raining missiles.”
And in 2015, as Scotland’s foreign affairs minister, he accused the UK government of preventing him from visiting Gaza to see the impact of £500,000 in Scottish government aid sent to the region.
In a letter to then-Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, he wrote: “I find it disappointing and frustrating that the Foreign Office is preventing Scottish ministers from visiting humanitarian projects in Gaza.”
Hamza Yusef was active during the university in student work, and previously headed the Muslim Students Association, membership of the Student Union at the university, and participated with students in many public activities on behalf of Muslim students in Glasgow.
He also participated in the work of charitable societies, and volunteered on a local radio station, in collecting donations for the needy and asylum seekers.