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Sarwar: Inherent double standard exists in politicians’ view of Muslims

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar backed comments made by the First Minister (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar backed comments made by the First Minister (Andrew Milligan/PA)

An “inherent double standard” exists in the way politicians view Muslims, Anas Sarwar has said.

The Scottish Labour leader addressed the “disproportionate slaughter” happening to citizens in Gaza amid an ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

Mr Sarwar became the first political leader of Muslim faith when he was chosen as Scottish Labour leader in 2021.

His father, born in Pakistan, was the UK’s first Muslim MP.

The Scottish Labour leader has previously spoken about the Islamophobia he experienced growing up in Glasgow, including receiving death threats towards his family during his father’s time in politics.

Speaking during a visit to Alstom Transport Service Traincare rail maintenance depot, in Polmadie, Glasgow, Mr Sarwar described experiencing a “hostile environment” growing up following the 9/11 attacks.

And he has now had his say on comments made by First Minister Humza Yousaf, who has in-laws in Gaza, who said at the weekend that Muslim and Palestinian blood is viewed as “very cheap” by politicians across the world.

Mr Sarwar told the PA news agency: “When I was growing up, we had of course the horrific time of 9/11, 7/7.

“You then had the war on terror, you had the war in Iraq. It was, at times, what felt like a hostile environment for young Muslims across the country.

Anas Sarwar visit to rail depot
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar visited Alstom Transport Service Traincare rail maintenance depot, in Polmadie, Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“I think that’s helped shape a lot of people’s politics, a lot of people’s views.”

He added: “My fear with this ongoing situation in the Middle East – the completely desperate situation in Gaza where there’s the disproportionate slaughter of innocent women and children – there will be lots of people right across the world, particularly young Muslims, that will look at it and think there is an inherent double standard in our international politics where sadly every life doesn’t seem as equal.

“Ultimately, we will not see peace within Israel and Gaza, globally, if every life isn’t seen as equal, and that means every Palestinian life, Israeli life, every Muslim and Jewish life.”

Mr Yousaf told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme that “with a shadow of a doubt” a different value was placed on the lives of Muslims and Palestinians.

“You take to anybody who is Palestinian, people in the Muslim community, they feel that the Palestinian blood is very cheap,” he added.