From Islamophobe to Muslim: German politician converts to Islam


Arthur Wagner, a German of Russian origin, has stepped down from his leading membership in the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party's national executive committee after he reportedly converted to Islam, according to Deutsche Welle.

It's the far-right party in Germany that enjoyed unprecedented success opposing Islam and Angela Merkel's decision to let in around 1.3 million migrants and refugees from mainly Middle Eastern countries.

But speaking to Germany's Berliner Zeitung newspaper on Tuesday, AfD spokesman Daniel Friese claimed that Wanger had converted to Islam and that the AfD had "no problem with that".

Wagner confirmed that he recently resigned from the AfD's board in the federal state of Brandenburg, but argued it was not because of his religious affiliation.

"Religion is a private matter".

Wanger joined the AfD in 2015 and was a member of the Brandenburg committee responsible for religious communities and activities.

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AfD's basic program, which was adopted previous year, claimed that "Islam does not belong to Germany".

While the local branch of the AfD states on its website that "Islam has nothing to do in Germany", the official refrained from commenting on his conversion, saying he was driven by "personal reasons".

For the far-right party, Wagner's conversion comes at an uncomfortable time.

The party has also sought to ban the construction of mosques in Germany. It is now the largest opposition party in Parliament, with the two biggest parties - the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats - again looking to form a coalition.

The party touts an anti-immigration, anti-Islam platform. But he insisted that the AfD had not pressured him to leave its ranks. He left the party on January 11, AfD chairman Andreas Kalbitz wrote in a, adding the decision came as a surprise.