Monthly Archives: April 2014

Edinburgh’s Asian community to hear case for Yes

A group for independence-supporting Scots Asians are launching a new branch in Scotland’s capital.safyedinburgh launch

Scots Asians for Yes is hosting a public meeting in Edinburgh tomorrow (Monday) with an array of speakers, including one of Scotland’s most prominent businesswomen and political figures who will tell the audience that our Asian communities should be ‘front and centre’ of the debate.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, an actress, lawyer and member of Yes Scotland’s advisory board said: ‘It’s time to put Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands, so that, together, we can build a nation which works for all of us.

‘I want Scotland’s Asian communities to be front and centre in this debate.  And I want to play my part in persuading them that not only is an independent Scotland possible, it’s the best and only opportunity we have to realise our hopes and our dreams for our families and our country.


‘I believe my four children and your children and grandchildren, will have a better life, and enjoy a better and more equal society, in an independent Scotland, caring for each other and their fellow citizens. That is a Scotland I want to live in, and my children to grow up in

‘Scotland’s strength lies in its diversity. Migrant communities from across the world will play a crucial role in winning September’s referendum and building a new, independent nation.’

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh will also be joined by the well-known human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar and grass roots campaigner Jonathon Shafi.

Mr Shafi, a member of the Radical Independence Campaign said: ‘Independence is a chance for our society as a whole to embrace diversity. We have seen nothing but fear and division come from Westminster, from immigration vans to illegal wars.

‘This event marks another staging post in the growing campaign for a Yes vote. It’s an exciting time for all of us to be part of this historic movement and set about developing a modern Scotland of many cultures.’

Scots Asians for Yes, Edinburgh launch

7-9pm, 14 April 2014

South Leith Halls, 6 Henderson Street


Seamus Docherty

Yes Scotland

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Great things start with a Yes!

Great things start with a Yes!

Come join in the conversations around the independence referendum. Listen to our experts. We will be having our Scots Asians for Yes Edinburgh launch at the South Leith Halls, 6 Henderson Street, Edinburgh. Join Tasmina Sheikh, Aamer Anwar, Jonathon Shafi and Assad Khan discuss from different perspectives why independence is so important to make sure that Scotland and the people of Scotland succeed and flourish.

N N Riaz

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by | April 11, 2014 · 1:22 am

Proud Scots, Wherever They’re From

An interesting article by Katrina Bennhold ( 8 April 2014), from the other side of the pond, in the International edition of the New York Times. Please find it copied below.

EDINBURGH — Humza Yousaf says “aye” instead of “yes.” He wears a kilt on special occasions and is designing his own tartan: the Yousaf tartan, which will live alongside its MacDonald and MacDuff counterparts for all the Yousafs who will come after him — many, he hopes.

“I’m as Glaswegian as they come,” he says in a proud, earthy lilt.

A representative for Glasgow in the Scottish Parliament and external affairs minister, Mr. Yousaf is a member of the Scottish National Party and campaigning for Scottish independence from Britain ahead of a referendum in September.

Scotland is a good fit for this descendant of Punjabi and Kenyan immigrants: A melting pot long before America was on the scene, owing to successive waves of invaders and migrants from Vikings to Saracens, it is also home to a growing community of more recent arrivals. Mr. Yousaf’s father, who came to Glasgow in 1964, became the first non-white member of the national party there.

The Scottish brand of nationalism, on ample display ahead of the independence vote, looks very different from the far-right varieties blossoming across Europe — including in neighboring England, where the anti-immigration U.K. Independence Party, or UKIP, has been gaining ground. Rather than exclusiveness, nationalists in Scotland pride themselves on American-style hyphenated identities.

“This is civic nationalism, not ethnic nationalism,” says Maciej Wiczynski, a hospital worker and one of over 1,000 volunteers in the Polish-for-Yes campaign.

Mr. Wiczynski arrived in Scotland only six years ago, but, like any registered resident of Scotland, he gets to vote in September.

Mr. Yousaf sums it up: “It doesn’t matter where you come from, what matters is where we’re going as a nation. You can be Pakistani-Scottish, Polish-Scottish, even English-Scottish.”

Surveys have consistently given unionists a lead, but that lead appears to be narrowing. And there is some evidence that minority groups are more enthusiastic about independence: A poll by Scotland’s leading Asian radio station, Awaz FM, found in February that nearly two in three listeners were in favor.

Whoever wins, the referendum campaign seems to be strengthening the allegiance minority groups feel toward Scotland. There are Asian Scots and recent East European immigrants campaigning on both sides.

“This is not our host country, it’s our home country. There is a big difference,” said Jan Krawiec, a 38-year-old father of two, who plans to vote no because he worries about the economic impact of independence. But he “feels Scottish” nonetheless.

Aisha Khan, a 33-year-old nurse, was long skeptical of independence but is considering a yes vote, not least because the tone on immigration has hardened under a conservative-led coalition in Westminster that is trying to lure back voters tempted by UKIP. She finds the debate about whether Britain should leave the European Union “alienating.”

“I’d rather live in an independent Scotland that’s part of the E.U. than in a Britain that is not,” Ms. Khan said. She is proud that UKIP has failed to gain traction in Scotland.

Mr. Wiczynski tells of Polish friends in London who have been made to feel unwelcome by talk of “welfare tourism.”

Mr. Yousaf was astonished to hear relatives in East London complain that they regularly face questions over whether they are Pakistani or British, Muslim or British. “I have never been asked to choose between my identities here,” he said.

There is racism in Scotland, too, he said. But Scots are less hostile to immigration than other Britons, perhaps because a stagnating population means they need it more. In England and Wales, 75 percent of people want fewer migrants, compared with 58 percent in Scotland, a report by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford suggests.

That’s good enough for Mr. Wiczynski. He has been in Britain long enough to apply for British citizenship, but he won’t bother. “I’m going to wait for my opportunity to have a Scottish passport,” he says.

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SAFY Canvass Maryhill Springburn, 1-3pm, 20 April

SAFY Canvass Maryhill Springburn, 1-3pm, 20 April

Join Scots Asians for Yes along with other Yes supporters in Maryhill, from 1-3pm, Sunday 20 April. We will be joined by the Minister for International Development and External Affairs, Humza Yousaf MSP, and SNP European Parliamentary Candidate Tasmina Sheikh, Councillors and many other experts from Yes Scotland and the Radical Independence Campaign.

NN Riaz

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by | April 9, 2014 · 12:34 pm

The importance of young people’s voices in the indyref debate

In Scotland there is often a disconnect between young people and politics.

I aim to bridge the gap that has been created and inspire young people to develop a real passion for change in our modern day society. I believe that today’s youth are repeatedly ignored in politics and are frequently painted in a negative light. We are the future generation and should therefore be able to affect decision making and have our views heard by policy makers.


The main reason I’m involved with SAFY is because this is the biggest decision Scotland is going to take for 300 years. It is really important that young people engage in the referendum as we will be living with the result one way or another far longer than anyone else. I am also a member of Scottish Youth Parliament in which I represent Edinburgh East and I’m certainly finding more and more youngsters talking about what sort of country they want to be living in- which is great, but although teenagers are aware of the referendum, there aren’t as many involved. Furthermore, as a member of the Asian community living in Scotland, I think we should be doing a lot more to integrate into Scottish culture and be involved in UK politics.

Last year, I volunteered to help out at the Yes Scotland stall at the Edinburgh Mela. It was fantastic to see so many Asians helping out at the stall and it definitely did put a smile to my face to see people from all backgrounds involved in the referendum. I feel more multicultural events like the Mela need to be organised. It’s great to see all the communities getting together and it helps avoid racism and prejudice and encourages good citizenship.

In March I attended the FOSIS #indyref debate which took place at Strathclyde University. It had the two of the most senior Muslim politicians in Scotland debating Independence. Humza Yousaf MSP who is the Minister for External Affairs and International Development and also Anas Sarwar MP who is currently the Deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party. This was another example of Muslims being involved in the independence referendum.

I’m therefore inspired to be the youth officer for SAFY as I can do my best to engage young people and in particular engage young Scottish Asians. I aim to present a positive image of young people not only in Edinburgh but throughout Scotland and give you the opportunity to make a difference. We are underestimated in society; we are not shown the respect we deserve. This needs to change.

Assad Khan

MSYP Edinburgh East

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Independence Debate organised by Glasgow Skeptics Video

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by | April 2, 2014 · 10:02 pm

Scots Asians for Yes Edinburgh Launch 14 April

Scots Asians for Yes Edinburgh Launch 14 April

Join us at South Leith Halls, 6 Henderson Street to hear THREE of our most up and coming representatives discuss with us why it is critical that we take part in the most important decision of our life time and VOTE for a more progressive and democratic future on the 18 September.

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by | April 2, 2014 · 10:28 am