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Humza Yousaf wife wears thobe to Scottish parliament

Humza Yousaf's wife wears Palestinian thobe to Scottish parliament
2 min read
04 April, 2023
Nadia El-Nakla, who is of Palestinian origin, wore a thobe at the Scottish parliament for her husband's confirmation as First Minister of Scotland.
Nadia el-Nakla wore a thobe to the Scottish parliament for her husband's confirmation as First Minister [Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]

Nadia El-Nakla, the wife of Scotland's new First Minister Humza Yousaf, ​has​​​​​​ celebrated her Palestinian heritage by wearing a traditional thobe for her husband's official confirmation in the Scottish Parliament on 28 March.

El-Nakla is a Scottish National Party (SNP) councilor for the West End of Dundee. She was born in Scotland to a Palestinian father, and in the past has expressed concerns for her family who live in Gaza. 

Her husband became Scotland's first leader from an ethnic minority background when he was elected to head the SNP last month. He too chose to represent his Pakistani heritage at his oath-taking ceremony on 29 March and wore an all-black sherwani - a formal coat worn in South Asia. 

The thobe is an intricately embroidered ankle-length robe that is worn throughout the Middle East. El-Nakla's thobe is decorated with tatreez,  a unique Palestinian style of embroidery typically stitched by women.

Thobes are traditionally worn on special occasions and are handed down through generations. They are a symbol of Palestinian culture and identity, and have over the years come to embody Palestinian resistance against Israeli oppression. 

Several public figures have in recent years worn Palestinian garments or embroidery to highlight their heritage.  

Rashida Tlaib, the first female member of the US Congress of Palestinian origin, wore a thobe at her swearing-in ceremony in January 2019 and other official events. 

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Palestinian-American NASA engineer Nujoud Fahoum Merancy had tatreez embroidery on her suit jacket for her official NASA portrait in October 2019. 

Farah Saleh, a Palestinian choreographer and dancer based in Edinburgh, expressed her pride on seeing El-Nakla in a thobe in an interview with Scottish news outlet The National.

"I felt really proud because as a Palestinian it really represents our struggle for existence," she said. "She’s representing herself, her own family, but it also means a lot as it represents resistance and the rights of all Palestinian people.

"It’s encouraging, and also somehow reassuring, to have a figure like her become so prominent in UK politics."