Former Labour leadership challenger Anas Sarwar has spoken of the racist and Islamophobic comments he received during his campaign, including a senior councillor from his own party who said Scotland wasn’t ready to vote for a ‘Paki’.
The vile slur was one of a number of comments that the Glasgow MSP received during his bid to succeed Kezia Dugdale in the leadership election last autumn.
Mr Sarwar told the Daily Record that he had immediately challenged the council group leader, who he declined to name, after being told that “Scotland isn’t ready for a brown, Muslim, Paki”.
“When I challenged him on that, saying it was a racist, Islamophobic comment, he said that it wasn’t his opinion, it was his fear about what his constituents believe”.
Mr Sarwar, who ultimately lost out on the Scottish Labour leadership to Richard Leonard, revealed that another prominent party supporter had decided not to back him after seeing his wife Furheen wearing a hijab.
Mr Sarwar said that his wife wears the Islamic headdress and is a ‘normal, passionate, hard-working Scot’.
The former dentist made the revelations as he prepares to launch a cross-party group on Islamophobia at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.