Humza Yousaf has accused Nigel Farage and Suella Braverman of “anti-Muslim hatred” as he claimed that Islamophobia had moved from the "fringes to the mainstream of our political discourse."

In his first major intervention during the election campaign and one of his first public comments since quitting as first minister in April, the ex-SNP leader also warned that the rise of the far right was "emboldening Islamic State-inspired extremists," which, he added, could have "devastating" consequences.

Writing in the Guardian, Mr Yousaf said he was concerned by the gains made by “those who make a living out of vilifying Muslims” at recent European Parliament elections.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally won the popular vote with 31.5%, while in Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) celebrated a “historic” second place finish, ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD).

READ MORE: Nigel Farage's Reform overtakes Tories in polls for first time

“I am, proudly, a western Muslim. I had the great honour and privilege of being the first Muslim leader of any western democracy, and yet it is increasingly difficult to persuade fellow Muslims that Europe does not have a problem with our very existence,” Mr Yousaf wrote.

“In the UK, the scale of a Labour victory is likely to be the story of the day, but it is also expected that Nigel Farage’s Reform UK will make significant gains. A recent YouGov Poll put Reform one point ahead of the Conservatives.

“Farage – who, during this campaign, has said that Muslims do not share British values – has a history of making Islamophobic remarks. In 2015, he said that people had fears of Muslims as a “fifth column”; in 2013, he suggested Muslim migrants were “coming here to take us over”.

“Farage has failed to get elected seven times and yet, despite this and regardless of the fact that he has made a living out of fanning the flames of religious and racial tension, the British media appears obsessed with platforming him.”

The ex-SNP leader said politicians and the media had “been far too dismissive of Islamophobia within our politics.”

He said commentators had often caricatured the likes of Mr Farage and Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders as “your harmless, old-fashioned uncle who, after downing one too many glasses of Pimm’s at the family barbecue, will spout the odd off-colour remark.”

“This complacency, this tendency to ignore and dismiss anti-Muslim hatred, has allowed it to grow from the fringes to the mainstream of our political discourse,” he added.

He added: “I recall previously when mainstream politicians flirted with Islamophobia, they tried – miserably – to sound subtle and nuanced, often talking euphemistically about the dangers of ‘mass migration’.

“However, Islamophobia is so acceptable that they now barely bother disguising it. Just take the example of the former UK home secretary Suella Braverman, who can openly write a newspaper column stating ‘the Islamists, the extremists and the antisemites are in charge now’."

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf formally resigns as First Minister

Mr Yousaf said many Muslims were now "fearful", and many "do not know where their future lies.”

He warned that the alienation of Muslims in Europe would not only bolster the far right but also Islamic State-inspired extremists.

“They prey on vulnerable people, on those who do not feel as if they belong. Their twisted propaganda relies on the creation of a false dichotomy, splitting the world in two: dar al-harb (the land of war) and dar al-Islam (the world of Islam).

"They tell those who feel lost that they belong in the land of Islam, that the west has become a land of war in which all and any deadly tactics are acceptable to punish the enemy.”

“It is not too late for politicians of all persuasions to confront and face down the anti-Muslim hatred rampant in our political discourse.

"The real danger is that by appeasing the far right, we also risk emboldening IS-inspired extremists too. If we allow this to happen, the consequences could be devastating.”

Mr Farage and Ms Braverman have been approached for comment.