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Australian politician mistakes Islam for country; gaffes go viral

By Faith Karimi, CNN
August 12, 2013 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
Stephanie Banister had been running as a candidate in the parliamentary elections in Australia next month.
Stephanie Banister had been running as a candidate in the parliamentary elections in Australia next month.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Stephanie Banister was a candidate for a seat in Rankin, Queensland
  • Not anymore -- after she made religious and political gaffes
  • She later accused a television station of editing out her comments

(CNN) -- A candidate in Australia's parliamentary elections referred to Islam as a country. As a result, she's now referred to as a former candidate.

Stephanie Banister, a 27-year-old welder running for a seat in Rankin, Queensland, unleashed a series of blunders during an interview with CNN affiliate 7 News.

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

Then she added: "Less than 2% of Australians follow haram." It is unclear whether she meant the Muslim holy book, the Quran. Haram refers to things that are forbidden under Islamic law.

As if that's not enough, she got her religions all mixed up.

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

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Judaism is based on the old testament, which predates the birth of Jesus Christ.

Her blunders, though, were not limited to religion.

She said the Australian national disability insurance scheme was "working at the moment." It is not set to begin until 2016, according to 7 News.

Banister was a candidate for the anti-immigration One Nation party in next month's elections. The interview gained her worldwide notoriety -- with commentators describing her as the "Australian Sarah Palin."

Palin, who was on Republican John McCain's ticket in the 2008 presidential election and is a former governor of Alaska, is known for her blunders. During the campaign, she once cited Russia's proximity to Alaska as bolstering her foreign policy credentials.

It's unclear when Banister's interview was aired, but it went viral soon after. She accused the affiliate of editing out numerous phrases where she corrected herself and said "Islamic countries."

"With the way Channel Seven edited my interview, I was left quite the fool," Banister said.

On Saturday, the mother of two withdrew from the race, citing threats to her family.

Her campaign lasted a total of 48 hours.

Opinion: Why gaffes are good for us

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