Australian candidate calls Islam a 'country'

Aug. 8, 2013 at 1:24 PM
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BRISBANE, Australia, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- An anti-immigration candidate for the Australian Parliament referred to Islam as a "country" and said "Jews follow Jesus Christ."

Stephanie Banister, 27, running for the seat representing the Rankin division in Queensland under the banner of the anti-immigration One Nation party, gave an interview to Channel 7 Wednesday featuring many misstatements, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Thursday.

"I don't oppose Islam as a country, umm, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia," Banister said.

She said 2 percent of Australians "follow haram."

"Or the Koran, as the Islamic text is known," reporter Erin Edwards said.

"Haram" is a Muslim term for something that is forbidden by Islamic law.

Banister said she supports a ban on halal food, the traditional Muslim diet, but not on the similar kosher food of Judaism because "Jews follow Jesus Christ."

"Jews aren't under haram, they have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ," she said. "They don't have a tax on [kosher], they've just got a certain way of making it where haram has a tax on the food."

Kosher food also carries a small fee in Australia and the religion does not follow Jesus Christ although Christ was a Jew.

Banister told Fairfax Media she corrected herself several times during the interview, but those portions were cut out.

"Unfortunately, they've completely twisted all my words and made me out to be a stand-up criminal and a stupid moron," she said.

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