Australian politician quits election bid after Islam gaffe
Leader of anti-immigration party defends Stephanie Banister after TV interview goes wrong
A candidate for an Australian anti-immigration party has quit an election race after a series of gaffes in which she described Islam as a country and said that Jewish people follow Jesus Christ.
Jim Savage, the leader of the One Nation party, told reporters in Brisbane on Saturday that Stephanie Banister was inexperienced and unprepared for "the terrible mutilation she copped at the hands of the press".
He also confirmed that she was no longer seeking election in the Queensland seat of Rankin.
The 27-year-old has faced widespread ridicule for comments made during an interview with the Seven Network (commonly known as Channel Seven) on Wednesday.
"I don't oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia," she said.
Banister, who is facing criminal charges of putting anti-Muslim stickers on halal products, also claimed that two per cent of Australians "follow haram" — instead of the Qur'an.
She added that "Jews aren't under haram; they have their own religion, which follows Jesus Christ."
Savage said in a statement on Saturday that Banister had withdrawn her nomination following the way she has been portrayed by the media for what he described as "a minor gaffe."