Scottish by-election candidate tells of racist abuse on campaign trail

The SNP candidate for the Airdrie and Shotts by-election has revealed her team were subjected to racist abuse while out campaigning in the area.

Anum Qaisar Javed, who is standing as the party’s candidate in the by-election that will replace Neil Gray, who has taken up a position as an MSP, said that a member of the public had used racist language about her.

Writing on Twitter, Ms Qaisar Javed, who stood as candidate for the SNP in the Murdouston ward in the 2017 North Lanarkshire Council elections, said: “Earlier today, one of our branch activists informed me that whilst they were out campaigning last week someone threw my leaflet back at them and said “I won’t vote for a P*ki”

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“So let me be clear – if you think I’m a P*ki, then I don’t want your vote.”

First Minister of Scotland and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Anum Qaisar-Javed in Airdrie during campaigning for the Airdrie and Shotts by-election.

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She added in a further post: “Over the course of the campaign I have only had positive experiences whilst speaking to folk and I have no doubt that this person is in a minority. Airdrie and Shotts, and indeed Scotland, is welcoming + inclusive, and you can take your bigotry elsewhere.”

Ms Qaisar Javed, a modern studies and politics teacher, is one of eight candidates running in Thursday’s election.

Previously a case worker for an SNP MSP and a parliamentary researcher to an SNP MP, Ms Qaisar Javed has been involved in SNP politics since the 2014 referendum. However, she was also previously the former general secretary of Muslim Friends of Labour.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visits Empire School of Dance ahead of a by-election on May 12, 2021 in Airdrie. Picture: Russell Cheyne - Pool/Getty Images

Earlier on Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined her on the campaign trail, visiting the Empire School of Dance in Airdrie.

Ms Qaisar Javed has spoken before about racist and sexist abuse she has received online, including tweets telling her to “to go back home”.

"Which doesn’t make sense as I was born and brought up in Scotland,” she said in an interview last month.

On Friday, a candidate in Glasgow Southside, wearing a home-made yellow Star of David badge, gave a Nazi-style salute on the counting hall floor of the Emirates Arena after subjecting SNP former justice secretary Humza Yousaf to a series of racially-charged questions.

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