A far-right, anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD), Arthur Wagner, has converted to Islam.
DW reports that Wagner, a leading AfD member in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, resigned his position on the party’s national executive committee on January 11 for personal reasons, AfD spokesman Daniel Friese said.
“The party has no problem with that,” added Friese.
Wagner, a German of Russian origin, had been a representative of the AfD since 2015. He was a member of the state committee with responsibility for churches and religious communities.
Before joining the anti-Islam, anti-immigration party, he was a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).
Wagner refused to answer questions from the German daily newspaper Tagesspiegel, who first reported his conversion to the Islamic faith.
“That’s my private business,” he told the newspaper. But he said there had been no attempt by the party to force him to resign.
The AfD entered Germany’s national parliament, the Bundestag, for the first time following September’s national election – becoming the third largest
The AfD argued that the country was under threat of “Islamization” and demanded stricter border controls to stem the number of newcomers arriving from war-torn and poverty-stricken countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Wagner is not the first far-right politician to convert to Islam, according to the German daily Die Welt.
Arnoud van Doorn was ask to leave Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders‘ Freedom Party (PVV).
It later emerged he had taken up the Muslim faith and traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform the Haj, the Guardian reported.