• Saturday, April 13, 2024

UK News

‘Need zero-tolerance approach’: Humza Yousaf speaks out on racist graffiti

This is not the first time the Scotland First Minister has addressed Islamophobia targetting his family. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Vivek MishraBy: Vivek Mishra

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has spoken out after being targetted with Islamophobic graffiti near his family home. He emphasised the necessity of a zero-tolerance approach to hatred.

Yousaf said the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 will deal with the “rising tide of hatred,” reported BBC. Scotland’s new hate crime law, which came into force on Monday, has faced criticism from figures such as Elon Musk and JK Rowling.

“I do my best to shield my children from the racism and Islamophobia I face on a regular basis. That becomes increasingly difficult when racist graffiti targeting me appears near our family home. A reminder of why we must, collectively, take a zero-tolerance approach to hatred,” Yousaf wrote on X (formerly Twitter) after racist abuse related to his Pakistani heritage was sprayed on walls of his house in Dundee the same day the controversial new law came into practice.

Scotland Police is investigating the graffiti, and inquiries are ongoing, reported Sky News.

This is not the first time the Scotland First Minister has addressed Islamophobia targetting his family. Yousaf, whose in-laws were trapped in Gaza for about a month before fleeing through Egypt, said in January that Muslim and Palestinian lives were viewed as “cheap” and “different,” reported Sky News.

The new law, known as the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act, aims to make Scotland safer by strengthening laws against hate crimes. However, critics argue that the law could stifle free speech and be weaponised to “settle scores.”

The law establishes a new offense for intentionally stirring up hatred against a person or group based on protected characteristics, encompassing words, actions, or publications that could be deemed threatening or abusive.

The updated law introduces new charges for stirring up hatred against individuals based on their disability, religion, transgender identity, sexuality, age, or variations in sex characteristics.

Since 1986, it has been illegal in the UK to incite racial hatred, and laws against homophobic hate crimes have been in place since 2008 in England and Wales.

Related Stories