NADIA EL-NAKLA: I’m a victim of far-right abuse – Rishi Sunak’s MPs are part of the problem

Saturday morning. The day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s speech on protecting democracy. I have woken up angry and bewildered.

As a Muslim, Scottish-Palestinian, born and raised in Dundee, it is MPs in the prime minister’s party that have directed hate towards me and Muslims across the UK.

There is no doubt that the comments from Lee Anderson and Suella Braverman were Islamophobic, yet despite repeated questioning Rishi Sunak has refused to call it out for what it is.

Instead his focus seemed to be small groups of Islamists. I would have liked to know who he was referring to, as all of us have a responsibility to tackle hate and extremism in every form it exists.

‘I receive vile, diatribes of abuse weekly from the far-right’

I didn’t feel the speech encouraged inclusion and that it was in anyway related to my safety and wellbeing in the UK.

For me, it feels personal on many levels.

Firstly, I receive vile, diatribes of abuse weekly from the far-right. Threatening, hate filled, nasty, often with misogyny and even threats of sexual violence.

I did not feel that these groups were being addressed by the prime minister on Friday evening. We know who these right wing groups are and we know the platforms they have.

First Minister Humza Yousaf and his wife, Nadia El-Nakla. Image: Kenzie Gillies/DC Thomson

Secondly, for the prime minister to suggest Britain is always on the right side of history is, to put it mildly, disingenuous.

I would suggest that the UK has, and continues to be, on completely the wrong side of history as it refuses to back an immediate ceasefire, despite tens of thousands of innocent women and children being killed in Gaza.

Thirdly, I have been to Palestinian protests in Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh. I have only seen peaceful protests, and if there is any hatred then I have every confidence in Police Scotland to deal with such incidents.

People are rightly angry at the situation that has unfolded in Gaza because we are witnessing the massacre and collective punishment of over 2 million people.

‘Peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy’

The comments from senior Israeli government ministers are tantamount to ethnic cleansing, and the International Court of Justice is quite literally investigating Israel for genocide – we should all collectively be angry about it.

The people of Gaza are being starved, while trucks filled with food sit only a few kilometres away.

The UN has called Gaza a graveyard for children. The UK Government stays silent and continues to send arms to Israel. People in the UK have a right to object to this stance, through peaceful and democratic protests.

Peaceful protest is the very cornerstone of our democracy. The prime minister shouldn’t be blaming peaceful protestors for his own policy failures that have seen him and his party stoke the culture wars for cheap political gain. All at the expense of societal cohesion.

The prime minister and his party, once again, have shown that they are out of touch with the people of Scotland.

His speech on Friday was a reminder of the division the Tories seem to revel in. The sooner we have an election and can remove them from Government, the better.


Nadia El-Nakla is a councillor for Dundee’s West End and lives in the city with her husband, the First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf. 

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