‘Australian Sarah Palin’ withdraws from election race after stating ‘Islam is a country’
Twenty-seven-year-old Stephanie Banister – dubbed in the media as the “Australian Sarah Palin” - was running for the Brisbane seat of Rankin in next month’s federal election. However, the ultra-nationalist has announced that she has pulled out of the race just two days after kicking off her campaign.
The aspiring politician was widely ridiculed after her gaffe-laden interview with Seven News, which was aired on Wednesday night and quickly went viral.
“I don't oppose Islam as a country, umm, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia,” Banister stated.
The would-be-MP also claimed that two per cent of Australians “follow haram,” apparently referring to the Koran - the central religious text of Islam.
“Jews aren’t under haram. They have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ,” the mother of two said.
Banister also used the word “haram” – an Islamic term used for something forbidden or sinful - when she presumably meant to say “halal,” which means the complete opposite.
She later stated that the way the channel edited her interview made her look a “fool” and apologized “to One Nation, to my friends and family, for any embarrassment this has brought to them.”
One Nation leader Jim Savage confirmed on Saturday that Banister decided pull out of the race, but underlined that she continues to have “the full support” of the movement, The Australian reported.
“Stephanie has not been disendorsed and will not be disendorsed,” he emphasized.
Savage said that “threats” against Banister and her family, along with “the abuse she's copped and the enormous pressure she's been put under,” prompted her to quit the race.
Earlier, Banister was arrested for placing stickers on products in a Brisbane supermarket that read “halal food funds terrorism.” She is due to face charges in court for alleged “contaminating or interfering with goods.”