KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – In July of 2019 Rana Zaman, a Muslim woman of colour originally from Pakistan, was blocked from running for the federal NDP in the Dartmouth-Cole Harbour riding, although she had won the nomination fair and square.
Now Zaman is running in the same federal riding again, only this time for the Greens.
Some ill-considered 2018 tweets critical of Israel’s barbaric shooting of Gaza protesters caught the ire of the Canadian pro-Israel lobby, and the Federal NDP quickly caved and disallowed her candidacy, and closed ranks behind a new candidate. The provincial NDP, for which Rana had run earlier, did not speak out publicly in her defense.
Zaman’s tweets, written after Israeli forces had killed almost 150 Palestinians, and injured 10,000, compared the Israeli killings to what happened in Nazi Germany and likened Gaza to Auschwitz. Over the top and ill-considered stuff, for which Zaman showed genuine remorse and apologized.
Those same tweets came back to haunt Zaman again when the next year the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commision took away a human rights award she had won mere weeks before.
I never set out to go into politics, Zaman tells the Nova Scotia Advocate.
“It’s always been in my nature to help out wherever support is needed. It happened initially with the arrival of Syrian refugees, then I saw the struggles of people on income assistance, as well as the Indigenous community and the Black community. That’s when I got involved in rallies and protests, and realized the importance of community involvement,” she says.
It appears the attacks on Zaman have resumed now that she has once again gained some visibility as a federal candidate.
The Green Party itself has encountered its share of controversy when it comes to Israel. So much so that Green MP Jenica Atwin joined the Liberals after Leader Annamie Paul’s refusal to condemn an adviser who suggested that MPs like Atwell were antisemitic.
Zaman says she’s very appreciative of the way the Green Party has stood by her.
“I am not saying the party doesn’t have problems, but they did come through for me,” she says. “The Green Party treats its candidates like human beings.”
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