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‘I don’t oppose Islam as a country’: Australian quits election after gaffe

Published: Updated:

Labeled Australia’s Sarah Palin, a candidate for Australia's anti-immigration One Nation party dropped out of the election race Saturday after a blundering interview in which she referred to Islam as a country.

Stephanie Banister kicked up a media storm when she said in a TV interview with Australia’s Seven Network: "I don't oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia."

Banister had been campaigning for just 48 hours when she gave the interview, aired on Wednesday, reported AFP news agency.

It was not only Islam that Banister was confused about.

"Jews aren't under haram. They have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ," she said of Judaism.

One Nation Party leader Jim Savage denied that Banister had been dropped and said she continued to have the "full support of the One Nation executive,” reported AFP.

"However, due to the threats against Stephanie's family, herself, her children, the abuse she's copped and the enormous pressure she's been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin," Savage said.

While confirming her withdrawal from the race in brief remarks to the media, Banister said the interview was edited to make her look "quite the fool,” reported AFP.

One Nation, the right-winged political party with a populist, conservative and anti-multiculturalism party, was founded in 1997 by Pauline Hanson, who famously warned against Asians in Australia.

Ahead of the Islam gaffe, Hanson reportedly told Seven that Banister was clearly "not ready" for national politics, AFP reported.

(With AFP)