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Hamza Yusuf Becomes First Muslim Leader in Western Europe as Scotland Swears Him In

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Hamza Yusuf was sworn in as Scotland’s first minister on Wednesday, becoming the first Muslim leader in a government in Western Europe.

The 37-year-old Yusuf is also the youngest leader yet of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and is pledging to reinvigorate his faltering independence campaign.

But after winning the race to succeed long-serving Nicola Sturgeon on Monday, his leadership has already been questioned after defeated rival Kate Forbes refused to serve in his cabinet.

The outgoing finance minister was offered a smaller role than Youssef, although victory was close. She finished with 48% of the preferential vote for SNP members to 52%.

Yusef’s allies claimed it was because Forbes wanted to devote more time to family life after giving birth recently. But in press reports, her supporters were critical of the job offer.

He was spending the rest of Wednesday rounding up his cabinet after being sworn in by Colin Sutherland, Chief Justice of Scotland, Court of Session.

The new First Minister pledged to “serve His Majesty Charles III well and truly”, despite his stated support for the abolition of the monarchy in favor of an elected head of state in Scotland.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak congratulated Yusuf in a phone call shortly after the Scottish National Party leader was appointed as first minister by the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

Yusuf said the call was “constructive” but assured Sunak that the “democratic wishes of the people of Scotland and Parliament” should be respected by London.

Sunak stressed instead that the two governments should work together on day-to-day political matters, according to Downing Street.

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