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The “dignity and courage” of Humza Yousaf

Yousaf comforting a relative of Bernard Cowan, who was killed by Hamas. X/@ScotGovFM

SNP leader and Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf “is one of the most prominent Muslims in public life”, says Fraser Nelson in The Spectator. His wife Nadia has a Palestinian father, and both her parents were trapped in Gaza until they escaped into Egypt last week. And though Yousaf has spoken of being “heartbroken at the continued suffering of the people of Gaza”, he has also “left no room for ambiguity” about his feelings towards Scotland’s Jewish community. Soon after the 7 October Hamas attack, he joined mourners at a synagogue outside Glasgow, and met the family of Bernard Cowan, a Scottish Israeli murdered by Hamas. “Your grief is my grief,” he said.

He then said something else: “When I pray tonight I will not only be praying for my in-laws, but praying for Bernard Cowan, and for all those innocent men, women and children who have been killed or harmed.” Yousaf, who takes his faith seriously, made clear that as a Scottish Muslim, “he was praying for the Jewish victims of the Hamas atrocities”. At a time when many talk up the idea that Muslims are “hostile to British values”, Yousaf proves we have “cohabitation and cohesion on a scale other countries struggle to manage”. Though I wish him “nothing but failure” in his quest for Scottish independence, on the Israel-Gaza war he has acted with “dignity and courage”.