Stephanie Banister had been running for a seat at the Australian parliament – before she gave this interview. In it, she claimed that Islam is a country and only 2% of Australian people followed their Haram (she meant Qur’an). So she didn’t want their (Islamic) laws in her land. So far, so good. But it didn’t stop there.
“Jews aren’t under haram,” Banister went on to explain. “They have their own religion, which follows Jesus Christ.”
She also thinks that Kosher food for Jewish-Australians is okay – because they don’t charge a tax (they do). But Haram (this time used to mean Islam and/or Halal foods) charges a tax – so Halal food should be banned. She has quickly earned the title of the Australian Sarah Palin and chosen to drop out of the race. Banister’s far-right party ‘One Nation’ intends to restrict immigration and “abolish multi-racialism,” which it claims is “destroy[ing] Australian culture.”
My amusement prevents me from mustering up indignation at her Islamophobia and bigotry. Lauren Green’s pouncing on Reza Aslan has been played over so many times – that this was actually refreshingly funny. Good thing Ms. Banister is only 27. She can perhaps make a comeback in politics and attribute 7 more meanings to the word ‘Haram’.
I should feel embarrassed as an Australian…? All I can say is what else can you expect from a one nation candidate? Still you do wonder where they come from. And rest assured I wont be voting for someone like her or Tony. : )
Hey Trees, nah …people everywhere are talking of things they know nothing about. This one happened to be in Australia and from a fringe party. I don’t judge her for that. But people in public spheres and/or media, automatically, reflect on their nation/religion/ideology. So, I feel her strategist could’ve given her a better briefing.
Nice one. That story had escaped my notice.
I’m not sure if I should be more embarrassed that we have politicians like that in Australia or that someone from Bangladesh had to tell me about her ;).
But as treesshrubs hints, she’s a representative of a marginal party founded in the 1990s by another Queensland lady about as smart as she is.
The bad news is that One Nation has so affected the agendas of both main political parties here (ALP and Liberals) that they have abandoned a 30 year bipartisan policy of anti-racism and now compete with each other as to who can vilify refugees the most. While neither major party would explicitly attack Muslims (hey, they vote too) there is a definite Islamophobic subtext to a lot of their stated immigration and foreign policies. And our Foreign Minister has a history of racist and Islamophobic dogwhistling going back to his days as NSW Premier from 1995 to 2005, a practice he continues to this day.
The worse news is that the way the preferential voting system in Australia works, no matter who you want to vote for in the House of Representatives your vote will ultimately end up with either the ALP or the Liberals in over 95% of Australian electorates (including mine). That’s why I defy Australia’s mandatory voting laws and refuse to vote.
BTW, I’ve heard that thanks to Ms Green, Reza Aslan’s book ‘Zealot’ has gone to number one on the US non-fiction sales chart and is now the biggest selling book of its kind in US history.
Unless you’re planning on speaking publicly about some incendiary topic you know nothing of – there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Of course, that means your work won’t go viral either 😀
I know of One Nation and their peripheral status in Australian politics. I guess it’s all a natural reaction to what many see as Asianization / Africanization / Islamization of white, Christian nations. Perhaps we’ve reached the height of conformity in our global village – and now comes the Polarization. And while this is going to sound weird – maybe aggressive political stances are yet another attempt to undermine the monotonous hegemony of the 2-party democratic model reigning all over the planet. If so, they may actually constitute a valid, viable strategy.
In this particular case – I found it funny as hell. Banister obviously doesn’t want Muslim influence in her land, but she doesn’t know why. Or can’t remember. That someone explaining policy stances during election campaigning – for whichever party and in whatever country – can be so uninformed and daft, confounds me. But that she was immediately found out and shamed into stepping down – speaks volumes about the People. Stephanie Banister certainly doesn’t define – or even reflect – them and their views.
Thanks for that great comment.
I see your point. In fact when One Nation first rose to prominence I’d hoped it was going to leech so many votes away from the Liberal/National Coalition (and the Greens would do ditto to the ALP) that the two party system would collapse.
But both parties have moved to the racist right and reabsorbed their One Nation defectors while the Greens have effectively become an auxiliary of the ALP anyway.
And I guess you could argue that smashing the two party hegemony from the Right has been tried before in Germany in the 30s and it didn’t turn out so well. Mind you, I still hold out hope that the PTI might shake up the dynasties that run Pakistan.