SCOTLAND: Muslim Scottish government minister gives up Irn-Bru for Lent to help persecuted Christians

Humza Yousaf, MSP speaking at ACN youth rally in Scotland (© Aid to the Church in Need)
Humza Yousaf, MSP speaking at ACN youth rally in Scotland (© Aid to the Church in Need)

A Muslim Scottish government minister is giving up Irn-Bru this Lent to raise money for Christians suffering at the hands of extremists.

Minister for Transport and the Islands giving up Scotland’s other national drink

Irn-Bru (© Irn-Bru)

Writing on Twitter, Humza Yousaf, Scottish Minister for Transport and the Islands, said he is giving up the orange fizzy beverage often described as ‘Scotland’s other national drink (after whisky)’.

The SNP member for Glasgow Pollok invited Twitter followers to vote for one of three food and drink ‘vices’ he should give up for Lent and Irn-Bru came out top – ahead of chocolate and crisps.

The tweet attracted 149 retweets with 355 likes and 2,499 took part in the online poll.

Mr Yousaf said he will give the money he saves to Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity which prioritises support for persecuted Christians in the Middle East and other Muslim-majority regions.

In his Twitter message, the Scottish National Party (SNP) politician wrote: “Think I’ll join Christian friends doing Lent this year.

“Any money saved from not consuming my vice will go @ACN_Scotland who support persecuted Christians across the world.”

In another tweet, he said: “Should say reason I’m supporting @ACN_Scotland is because the persecution of Christians worldwide in some Muslim majority countries is something that deeply saddens me, and most Muslims.”

Mr Yousaf wrote: “Those who commit such heinous acts against humankind insult name of Islam.”

Mr Yousaf’s interfaith comment – made on Tuesday (13th February) just before the start of Lent – attracted 53 ‘retweets’ and 313 ‘likes’.

The “good cause” of religious freedom

Kate Higgins, special advisor to First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, also pledged her Lenten donations to ACN, referring to the “good cause” of religious freedom.

Speaking at an Aid to the Church in Need youth rally in summer 2015, Mr Yousaf described religion as a fundamental human right for all.

At the event at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Carfin, he said: “The Scottish Government strongly condemns the persecution of Christians and other communities on the basis of their religion, belief or ethnicity.”

Pope Francis is calling Christians and other faiths worldwide to pray and fast this Lent for peace next Friday (23rd February), especially for people suffering in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).