First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – President of Glasgow Central Mosque Maqbool Rasul (FM’s right) – Secretary of Glasgow Central Mosque Nabeel Sheikh (FM’s left) (Photo: Creative Commons)
Ahmed J Versi
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, observed one minute silence at Glasgow Central Mosque on November 16 to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris.
“The minute silence that has been observed in Scotland and across Europe is a clear indication that we all stand in solidarity with France and are thinking of that proud nation at this moment.
“We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to the people of France and all those affected, and we are doing everything possible to provide support for those caught up in this barbaric act,” she said.
She added that there was no place for hate crimes in Scotland alluding to the Islamophobic attacks against Muslims. Sturgeon warned that there was no place for “bigotry and prejudice” in Scotland and that any hate crime in the wake of the tragedy was “totally unacceptable”.
“There is absolutely no place for bigotry and prejudice in Scotland and this Government is clear that any form of hate crime is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in 21st century Scotland,” Sturgeon said.
She urged people “not to let these terrorists win by dividing us and driving a wedge between the multi-cultural societies in Scotland We are stronger when united and that is one of our strengths.”
Sturgeon praised Scotland’s Muslims as a “valued and integral part of our society.”
“The terrorists want to destroy us, they want to see our way of life destroyed and an important rebuke to them is to say ‘we are going to stay united and continue to value the same freedoms and way of life that we always have done’,” the First Minister said.
General Secretary of the Mosque, Nabil Shaikh, told The Muslim News, “For Nicola Sturgeon to be here at Glasgow Central Mosque – the only leader in Europe to stand shoulder to shoulder with our community – is a very strong statement to those committing atrocities that it is nothing to do with Islam and Muslims. And that Scotland will not accept divisions these people want to create amongst us.”
Shaikh added that Islamophobic attacks have increased in Scotland after the Paris attacks. “Muslim community shares double burden. Most importantly we feel the hurt of the victims in Paris and everywhere else where innocent people are killed. On top of that we face Islamophobic attacks.”
As the refugees were going to Scotland the next day, she said Scotland should welcome them and “show that we are a country of compassion and acceptance. These people are fleeing the terror of ISIS (Daesh), that’s why as a community and in co-operation with other countries we have a part to play in dealing with the refugee crisis.”
Justice Secretary, Michael Matheson, and Minister for Europe and International Development, Humza Yousaf, spoke to leaders from the Mosque about how communities across Scotland can come together in solidarity against the scourge of terrorism