Humza Yousaf tells family of Scot murdered by Hamas: ‘Your grief is my grief'

Scotland's First Minister, whose parents-in-law are trapped in Gaza, told Giffnock shul he would be praying for his family and for Bernard Cowan


Humza Yousaf expressed his solidarity with the Scottish Jewish community today when he visited a Glasgow synagogue, telling shul members: “Your grief is my grief”.

Scotland's First Minister joined 500 mourners at Giffnock Newton Mearns Synagogue, where he met the family of Scottish-Israeli Bernard Cowan, who murdered by Hamas in Israel.

More than 150 members of the Jewish community sat shiva at Giffnock shul for Cowan, who would have turned 58 this Shabbat.

Colin Cowan this week described his brother as a “generous, hospitable” man, with a deep love for Israel. At the Friday service, his bereft mother, aged 88, was invited to light a candle for her son.

Speaking in the synagogue, Yousaf told the congregation: “I stand in solidarity with Scotland’s Jewish community”. 

He continued: “I want to send my condolences to the victims and the families of all those affected by this desperate situation. At a time of great sorrow and sadness, I want you to be in no doubt whatsoever that I, and the government I lead, stand with you and with all communities who are mourning the loss of innocent life.”

Yousaf, who is Muslim, and whose wife Nadia El-Nakla's parents are trapped in Gaza, also shared his fears for the fate of his parents-in-law.

He said: "When I pray tonight I will not only be praying for my in-laws, but praying for Bernard Cowan, and for all those innocent men, women and children who have been killed or harmed - be they Israeli or Palestinian. May God have mercy on all of them."

The service at Giffnock shul was also attended by civic leaders from across Scotland. Stanley Lovatt, honorary consul for Israel, read a letter to the Scottish Jewish community from the president of the Jewish state, Isaac Herzog, which thanked Scots for their solidarity, support, and prayers. 

Kirsten Oswalk, MP for East Renfrewshire, also spoke. She said: “Our local area and our whole country is enriched in so many and varied ways because of our Jewish communities."

Oswalk told the congregation: “We are with you, we share in your worry and your sorrow, and we are here to support you”. 

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