MEND Press Release: Scottish political leaders offer messages of support to Muslim communities as election draws near
Categories: Latest News
Tuesday April 13 2021
Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) has released its Scottish manifesto highlighting the crucial issues for Scottish Muslims amidst the upcoming Scottish Parliament Election.
Policy pledges on key issues, including human rights, education, employment, and COVID-19, have been developed in the hope that political parties will engage with the issues impacting minority communities and confirm their commitment.
These key pledges are detailed in the manifesto here.
Issuing messages of support to Muslim communities on the publication of the manifesto, the leaders of the five main political parties stated:
Nicola Sturgeon MSP – Scottish National Party
“Scotland’s diversity is one of its strengths. However, the rise in Islamophobia and hate crime in recent years is deeply concerning. I was proud to lead an SNP Government that brought forward the Hate Crime Bill to ensure that offences motivated by prejudice are treated seriously. We will ensure your voice is heard as we develop our next race equality action plan, and invest in programmes to increase leadership from our ethnic minority communities as well as develop an ethnicity pay gap strategy. At this election, the SNP has taken positive action to ensure our candidates represent the society we live in. I hope to work together to create a fairer, more inclusive Scotland.”
Anas Sarwar MSP – Scottish Labour Party
“In my time as an MSP, I have been committed to tackling Islamophobia, setting up a Cross Party Group and producing a world first report on responsible media reporting of Islam and Muslim people. Now as Scottish Labour leader, my resolve to take on this prejudice and discrimination has only strengthened. My party will always fight for equality in all its forms. My focus is a national recovery from the pandemic to deliver a stronger and fairer Scotland than the one before. That means striving for a more tolerant and inclusive society, one that celebrates the positive contributions Scottish Muslims make.”
Douglas Ross MP – Scottish Conservative Party
“No one should be marginalised or discriminated against because of their religion. We have seen the sad and shocking statistic that a third of Scottish Muslims say Islamophobia is an everyday issue for them. And with almost 80 per cent of Muslims saying Islamophobia is getting worse in Scotland, we need to see action to tackle prejudice at its root. Recently we launched the Conservative Muslim Forum Scotland. This organisation supports people from the Muslim community to get involved with the Scottish Conservatives and ensure they are recognised by the Party for their contribution and commitment to Scotland. They will also be working to increase the number of candidates we have from the Muslim community at every level of government. Across Scotland, the Scottish Conservatives will support measures to make Islamophobia a thing of the past.”
Willie Rennie MSP – Scottish Liberal Democrats
“My Scottish Liberal Democrats will always stand for equality, and for everyone’s right to pursue their hopes and dreams. This upcoming election hopefully will make our Parliament a true representation of Scotland’s vibrant and multicultural nature. All our candidates are committed to making Scotland a safe nation for everyone, and we strongly condemn any act of violence or discrimination based on religion, gender, and nationality. Islamophobia causes harm and fear every day. The next Parliament must do everything it can to eradicate it.”
Patrick Harvie MSP – Scottish Greens
“The Scottish Greens are committed to building an equal and inclusive Scotland, and we believe that our communities’ diversity is something to be proud of. Islamophobia is a blight on too many lives, and it must have no place in Scotland. Every political party has a responsibility to tackle it, and we look forward to continuing to work with Scotland’s Muslim communities toward that shared goal.”
Jawad Khursheed, Chair of MEND Scotland, says:
“MEND’s manifesto is the first of its kind in Scotland as it lays out the issues that directly impact Scottish Muslims and provides concrete ways for political candidates to truly represent communities. We are grateful for the support of every major party leader and will continue to ensure that Scottish Muslims are engaged throughout this election process”.
Notes for Editors:
- MEND is a community-funded organisation that seeks to encourage political, civic, and social engagement within British Muslim communities through empowering British Muslims to interact with political and media institutions effectively.
- MEND’S IRU (Islamophobia Reporting Unit) works with victims of Islamophobia in both civil and criminal matters, ensuring a just resolution of matters.
- MEND’s work has been commended by the World Economic Forum and EU’s Parliament Magazine.
- MEND works with the Crown Prosecution Service, police forces, schools and communities across the UK to tackle Islamophobia.
- For any enquiries, including information or interview requests, please contact: [email protected].