Anas Sarwar ‘was subjected to Islamophobia’ during leadership bid

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Labour MSP Anas Sarwar. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
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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.

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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”.

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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.