RACIST abuse is "worrying" but it's worth the risk as becoming the first Muslim Scottish first minister would be a "historic" win, Humza Yousaf has said.

Speaking during a special bonus episode of Holyrood Weekly, SNP leadership contender Yousaf fielded questions on his independence strategy, Brexit, and how to tackle the growing issue of misogyny, and the high suicide rate amongst Scottish men.

Three-quarters (565) of people who died by suicide in Scotland in 2021 were male.

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It comes amid the Scottish Government’s consultation on misogyny laws, following Baroness Helena Kennedy’s report investigating which new offences could tackle the problem in Scotland last year.

On the final leg of the leadership contest, and speaking straight after Nicola Sturgeon’s last FMQs and speech to Holyrood as First Minister, Yousaf discussed the first day of campaigning during Ramadan, and how he would negotiate with Westminster to secure Scottish independence.

Yousaf previously revealed that he carries a panic alarm and has been forced to call in the police due to racist abuse he faced on the campaign trail. 

Speaking to the Holyrood Weekly podcast, Yousaf was asked how he felt putting himself forward during the campaign, risking further abuse.

The National:

He said: "I do worry about it, but it's not so much for me, and more so for my family.

"Every role that I’ve had in government where I’ve come with a higher profile, the Health Secretary is probably one of the biggest ones, that abuse towards me, and sometimes family members, I can see an increase.

"So that’s a worry, and that is a concern."

However, Yousaf said despite these fears, it was worth it for the possibility of becoming Scotland's first Muslim FM. 

He explained: "I suppose the flip side of that is, it's also a massive opportunity. I don't labour the point too much, but this could be another historic moment. 

We've just come off a historic moment where we had the first female First Minister elected just over eight years ago, and we could have the first person of colour or the first Muslim to be the role of First Minister.

"Which is something that I mean, I just couldn't have envisaged when I was 16.

"You know, the Muslim community was facing some real challenges post 9/11, for example, but so many years on, at least, I'm in contention if nothing else, which is in itself a great sign of how the country has moved forward.

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"So there's always challenges but there are always pluses as well."

With Yousaf previously touting various policies relating to women’s rights, from improving abortion care to introducing the previously mentioned misogyny offences, The National asked how he would help young men suffering from mental health issues and suicide.

He said: “You're right about suicide rates, of course, disproportionately affect young men who complete suicide, and we've got to make sure we're putting a focus there.

“For me, I really want us to tackle this really challenging kind of toxic masculinity that still exists in our society, and I'm afraid there's too many, I would call them hate preachers, the likes of Andrew Tate, who feed off that vulnerability, in particular young men, and propagate a really damaging ideology.

The National: Tate has been criticised for his misognyistic views and influence on young menTate has been criticised for his misognyistic views and influence on young men

“So I do think we want to try to see how we can promote a positive male identity, a really positive male identity.”

Misogynistic influencer Tate, currently imprisoned in Romania on charges of rape, people trafficking and forming an organised crime group, had previously said that women belong in the home and are a man’s property, and has been criticised for his views and sway over young men.

Yousaf added that he had seen good examples of how to tackle the misogynistic influence of Tate and his like.

He added: “I've seen examples of that in some schools, where the likes of Rape Crisis Scotland will go in and talk about the issues of consent, but really focus on males and men and young boys responsibility in all of that.

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“I think the more and more we can support projects like that, absolutely. But of course, we live in a society that is intersectional.

“I'm hoping that young boys and girls who are people of colour, who are Muslim can look at me and say, well, actually, the Office of First Minister, the top job in the country effectively is not outwith my grasp.

“So hoping I can at least give some inspiration to groups and society and across society.”

Episode 12 of Holyrood Weekly and our third and final bonus show amid the SNP leadership race is now available to listen to on Spotify, the Omny streaming platform, and on our website below.

You can also listen to our previous interviews with Ash Regan and Kate Forbes on our Spotify and Omny feeds, as well as our weekly debrief on Nicola Sturgeon’s last week as First Minister of Scotland.