Scottish health minister sues nursery over alleged 'anti-Muslim' discrimination

Scottish health minister sues nursery over alleged 'anti-Muslim' discrimination
Humza Yousaf and his wife allege that three children, including the couple's own, were denied places at a nursery near Dundee for having 'Muslim-sounding names'.

2 min read
11 August, 2021
The couple’s lawyer said Yousaf's wife, Ms El-Nakla, and their daughter, Amal, were subject to "direct discrimination" under the Equality Act 2010 [Fraser Bremner-Pool/Getty]

The Scottish health minister and his wife have launched legal action against a nursery near Dundee over allegations it discriminated against their two-year-old daughter based on her name.

Humza Yousaf, health secretary for the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP), and his wife Nadia El-Nakla. claim that Little Scholars preschool nursery refused to offer places to three children, including the couple's own, because of their "Muslim-sounding names".

The nursery in Broughty Ferry, a suburb of Dundee, told the couple it had no places available for their child once they had completed and submitted their application forms. But on three later occasions, involving family and friends, the school is alleged to have secured places to three children with "white-sounding" Scottish names.

Aamar Anwer, a lawyer representing the couple, said that El-Nakla and her daughter, Amal, were subject to "direct discrimination" under the Equality Act 2010.

He warned that action will be raised at Dundee sheriff court within 14 days unless the nursery offers settlement proposals, a public apology and pays compensation to an anti-racist charity.

In a statement reported by the BBC, Little Schools denied the allegation it is racist, saying it was "extremely proud of being open and inclusive to all" and that it had owners of Asian heritage. It confirmed receiving correspondence from the couple's lawyer and said it will respond it due course.

The New Arab reached Little Schools for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.