HUMZA Yousaf’s election as SNP leader – and soon as Scottish first minister – is history making.

Born in Glasgow to a Pakistani father and a Kenyan mother, Yousaf will become the first Muslim first minister – and most importantly the first Muslim leader of a democratic Western European nation. This is a momentous day not just for Scottish Muslims but for Muslims across Britain as we celebrate this historic achievement in our holy month, Ramadan.

READ MORE: Muslim groups 'proud' as Humza Yousaf set to 'smash glass ceiling'

Many Muslims have felt ostracised and excluded from British politics over recent decades, particularly because we have felt there is no-one representing us or taking interest in the challenges that our community faces. This feeling of exclusion is one which continues to persist.

A poll conducted in 2022 by The Muslim Census showed that 18% of respondents would not vote in the next election, an increase of 10% on the 2019 General Election. Yousaf’s victory provides a moment of hope for our community. Finally, we have someone who looks like us and has had the same experiences as other first-generation immigrants.

Yousaf now has the opportunity to be a leader who can take on the difficult challenges that our community faces whilst being a figure that can unite the people of Scotland regardless of gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.

What makes the new SNP leader’s achievement even more satisfying for Muslims across the country is the thinly-veiled attacks that he faced throughout the campaign. Whilst Kate Forbes came under pressure for some of her religious beliefs, so too did Yousaf.

His opponents claimed that he succumbed to pressure from the religious Islamic community, and this is why he skipped a vote on the same-sex marriage bill, something he vehemently denied. This was deeply offensive to many Muslims, as the attack insinuated that Muslim politicians are essentially puppets for the Islamic religious community, simply taking orders from these groups.

Instead, Yousaf showed throughout the campaign how Muslims can combine progressive values with religious beliefs. For example, he promised to embed LGBT+ rights into an independent Scottish constitution. Moreover, he made policies such as banning conversion therapy and the protection of trans rights a cornerstone of his campaign.

The National: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called on the environmental lobby to come out more strongly in favour of expanding the ultra low emissions zone. (Victoria Jones/PA)

Few people would have thought we would be in a position where both the first minister of Scotland and Mayor of London (Sadiq Khan, above) are British Muslims, whilst the Prime Minister of the UK is also a South Asian. The last few years have clearly represented a changing tide when it comes to diversity in politics.

That said, there are clearly still significant issues with the way Muslims are treated in the UK. You simply need to take a look at the policies being pursued by the Home Secretary and her predecessors. Yet today’s result makes me proud to be a Muslim, it feels like there is now a sense of true acceptance and integration. Now, Yousaf must work to unite not just a divided party but a divided country too.