A woman candidate from an anti-immigration party in Australia,who was widely mocked after she mistook Islam for a country in a TV interview,has apologised and quit the election race.
Stephanie Banister,27,of One Nation Party was contesting a seat in Queensland. She had only been in politics for 48 hours. Banister also confused the term haram (forbidden) with the Koran and suggested Jews worshipped Jesus Christ. The interview,which aired early on Wednesday,went viral on social media.
I dont oppose Islam as a country,umm,but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia, Banister told Seven News. She announced her withdrawal from the September 7 national election Saturday.
With the way Channel Seven edited my interview,I was left quite the fool, Banister said in a brief statement. Id like to apologise to One Nation,to my friends and family,for any embarrassment this has brought to them.
The leader of One Nation,Jim Savage,said Banister continued to have the full support of the party executive. He said she had been under enormous pressure,including threats to her and her family.
One Nation spokesman Rod Evans said Banister knows very well that Islam is not a country but simply misspoke. Banister denied that she was unprepared to fight a federal election but admitted she was possibly inexperienced and still learning about the politics side of life, Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The mother-of-two rose to prominence when she was arrested for going into a supermarket and putting stickers saying halal food funds terrorism on Nestle products. She is facing charges of contaminating or interfering with goods.
Commentators compared Banister to Sarah Palin,the gaffe-prone Republican vice-presidential candidate in the 2008 US election.