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Pakistan-origin Hamza Yousaf, elected to Scottish parliament, takes oath in Urdu
Saturday May 14, 2016 5:20 PM, Agencies

Hamza Yousaf

Days after Sadiq Khan has been elected as first Muslim Mayor of London, Hamza Yousaf, another Pakistan-origin politician elected to Scottish parliament, created history by taking oath in Urdu - his native language.

The move is seen as an emphatic demonstration of British multiculturalism. The swearing in ceremony took place on Thursday at Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament.

All 129 members took the oath or made a solemn affirmation in the parliament's chamber, with outgoing presiding officer Tricia Marwick overseeing proceedings.

Humza Yousaf, a member of the Scottish National Party, who won a seat from the city of Glasgow, spoke first in English and then in the language linked to his Pakistani heritage, swearing "that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth" and concluding with "so help me God."

His party championed Scotland's unsuccessful bid for independence in 2014, framing its nationalism not on ethnic identity but on the desire for a distinct, diverse nation to have greater control over its affairs. The SNP now dominates politics in Edinburgh and has a sizable bloc of seats in Westminster as well.

On Twitter, Yousaf laughed off the predictable backlash to his oath from those fearful of the role of Islam in British society.

Yousaf was not the only politician to take the oath in another language: Other members of Scottish parliament spoke in local tongues such as Doric, Gaelic and Scots.

Yousaf – who is on the hard left of his already strongly left-wing nationalist political party – recently commented that the majority of his party would like to see the abolition of the monarchy, and has previously been a spokesman for Islamic Relief, the charity behind the new “Glory to Allah” bus ads in London.


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