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From Health Minister to First Muslim Prime Minister of Scotland: The Political Rise of Humza Yousaf

Yesterday, Monday, the Scottish National Party announced its selection of current Health Secretary Humza Yousaf as the party's leader, making him the successor to Nicola Sturgeon, who resigned as party leader and government head, thus becoming Scotland's first Muslim Prime Minister.

Yousaf (37) is considered one of Scotland's senior ministers and represents Glasgow in the Scottish Parliament. He stated that he would focus on addressing the cost of living crisis, ending divisions within the party, and working towards independence.

Yousaf previously held the position of Health Minister in Sturgeon's government, and was encouraged by his youth and perseverance to run for the position of Prime Minister after Sturgeon's resignation. Yousaf has a long political history in Scotland, holding important ministerial positions and working with two of Scotland's most prominent leaders in the past two decades, Sturgeon and former Prime Minister Alex Salmond. Humza Yousaf was born in Glasgow on April 7, 1985, to his father Muzaffar Yousaf, who was born in Punjab, Pakistan, and migrated with his family to Scotland in 1960, and his mother, Shaitsa Bota, who was born in Kenya to a South Asian family. Yousaf is a father of a daughter and is married to a Muslim nurse.

He lives with his family in Glasgow and has no problem appearing with his mother, sisters, wife, and all of whom wear the hijab. Yousaf entered politics through parliament, working as an assistant to MP Bashir Ahmed, who was the first Muslim MP in Scotland in 2007, but this did not last long, as Ahmed died shortly after entering parliament. Yousaf's entry into parliament caught the attention of several political leaders who recruited him to their teams, the most important of whom was the leader Salmond, who later became the Prime Minister in 2008. After that, Yousaf moved on to work as an assistant to Sturgeon, who was one of the country's most prominent figures at the time, and this stage was the start of a strong political relationship between them, which would later be demonstrated by Yousaf holding several important ministerial positions. In 2012, Yousaf was appointed to his first government position as a junior minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, during Salmond's term, and worked under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Foreign Affairs, becoming the first Muslim of Asian origin to hold a ministerial position. He continued in this position after Sturgeon became Prime Minister in 2014, and she kept him in his position until 2016, when he was appointed Minister of Transport. In 2018, Yousaf was appointed Justice Minister until 2021, during which he fought for the passage of the "hate crimes" law, aimed at providing greater protection for minorities and cracking down on hate crimes and discrimination, while different conservative voices opposed this law, Yousaf succeeded in passing it. In 2021, Yousaf took on the role of Minister of Health and Social Work during the Covid-19 pandemic, and during this period he faced many criticisms, finding himself in the eye of a storm when he asked people to think twice before calling emergency services to relieve pressure on hospitals, which many considered to endanger people's lives and deprive them of health services.



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