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.