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Germany’s anti-Muslim politician reverts to Islam, quits AfD party

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 29th January 2018 13:36

Germany’s anti-Muslim politician reverts to Islam, quits AfD party

 

Berlin: A German far-right politician who is known for its virulent anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant stance has resigned from party after converting to Islam.

Arthur Wagner is a leading member of Alternative for Germany (AfD) that advocated the closure of mosques and ban Muslim women to wear the burqa stepped down from the post of the party’s state executive committee on January 11 citing “personal reasons” and declined to comment on his conversion.

 

“That’s my private business,” Wagner further to the press.

The 48-year-old father change his views of Islam after spending time with Muslim immigrants or engaging with Islam’s sacred texts.

Andreas Kalbitz, AfD’s chairman.told CNN on Wednesday that he only learned about Wagner’s resignation when he telephoned him a few days ago.

Wagner was first elected as an AfD representative in 2015 and was a member of the state committee responsible for churches and religious communities.

Kalbitz added that he was surprised at his sudden resignation. He maintained that there was “no pressure from the party” for Wagner to resign since the party supported “freedom of religion.”

Originally formed as an anti-euro party in 2013, the AfD in recent times, has campaigned aggressively on an anti-immigrant, anti-Islam platform. It has strongly criticised the German Government’s decision to allow more than a million refugees into Germany in 2015.

 

The party came third in last year’s federal election, winning 12.6 percent of the vote.

According to the AfD, it states that “Islam does not belong to Germany” and “Islamic culture do not blend well in Germany”.

Speaking at a press conference a week before the federal elections, then co-chair of the AfD Alexander Gauland said that orthodox Islam is “incompatible” with “the principles of the modern, secular, free and democratic law-bound state.”

“The growing Islamisation of Germany poses an urgent challenge for its public and state order, cultural identity and the internal peace of our country,” Gauland said.

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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 29th January 2018 19:36


(salam)

Came across another interesting article..(The Atlantic)


The Strange Cases of Anti-Islam Politicians Turned Muslims



Three recent incidents seem to highlight a quirk of sociology.


DAVID A. GRAHAM JAN 25, 2018



Last fall, Arthur Wagner was part of something remarkable: His political party, the anti-Islam, anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland, entered the Bundestag, becoming the first far-right party in the body since the 1950s. This year, Wagner has done something even more remarkable: He has converted to Islam and left AfD.

Wagner was a leading party official in the state of Brandenburg, and had been a representative since 2015. Deutsche Welle drily noted that Wagner is of Russian origin and “was a member of the state committee with responsibility for churches and religious communities.” A party spokesman told the paper his departure was personal. “The party has no problem with that,” the spokesman said of the conversion. Still, one can imagine his new religious identity would create some awkwardness with his old chums. AfD has, for example, used the slogan “Islam does not belong to Germany.”

Even stranger, Wagner is not the first person to leave a far-right, anti-Islam party in Europe and become a Muslim. Arnoud van Doorn, a member of Geert Wilders’s Dutch Freedom Party—which is another far-right, anti-Islam party—left it in 2011, converted to Islam in 2012, and soon after made hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca Muslims are obliged to make at least once in their lifetimes. And in 2014, Maxence Buttey, a local councillor for the National Front (FN), France’s analogous far-right party, converted to Islam and was suspended from the party committee.

In the United States, a grisly story made headlines last year when an 18-year-old former neo-Nazi in Tampa who said he had converted to Islam confessed to killing two (apparently still) neo-Nazi roommates, though that case is so grotesque, and the use of violence so far from mainstream Muslim practice, that it defies comparison to the European examples. (The suspect also shouted a nonsensical, non-Muslim phrase.)

In all cases, the shift from anti-Muslim to Muslim is counterintuitive. One potential factor is the ease of conversion to Islam. One can declare oneself a Muslim after uttering the shahada, with no requirements like the baptism or confirmation needed to become Christian or the process and certification used in Judaism. Someone can announce they are a Muslim without demonstrating any particular devoutness, longevity of commitment, or knowledge of the religion’s precepts. This is not to say than any given convert is not sincere, but that stating someone has converted to Islam doesn’t really clarify much on its own.

These cases of anti-Muslim activists in Europe converting to Islam don’t represent a trend, but there are enough of them to wonder what might inspire such apparently 180-degree turnarounds. When he converted, Buttey, the FN councillor, argued that the far-right movement had more in common with the religion than its members realized. “Both are demonized and very far from the image portrayed in the media,” he told Le Parisien. “Like Islam, the FN defends the weakest.

The party denounces exorbitant interest rates charged on the debt of our country, and Islam is against the practice of usury.” It’s hard to imagine many French Muslims accepting a kinship with the FN, but in any case a more fruitful direction might be not to look for what far-right parties share with Islam but rather what forces might attract members to both.

Contd Here..
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 30th January 2018 12:17
Best to be on guard, in this day and age many claim to 'convert' but they want to try and change things from within, just need to be very careful.
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