A far-right German politician has embraced Islam after several years of association with a party that campaigned against the country’s “Islamisation.” Arthur Wagner has now resigned from the leadership post of his party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).
The news was confirmed by his party, as reported by London’s Sky News adding that the AfD had run a populist, anti-Islam, anti-immigration campaign before September’s federal elections, with slogans such as “Stop Islamisation.”
“Mr Wagner could also choose another religion,” Daniel Friese, a spokesman of the party, told Berliner Zeitung adding that he had resigned from the board two weeks ago.
“Mr. Wagner resigned on January 11 from the state board on his own volition. Only afterwards was it known that he had converted to Islam,” Friese was quoted by Reuters.
Wagner, according to a BBC News report, is of Russian origin and has previously belonged to German chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party. However in a video published in 2017, he is shown saying that although he had once been an admirer of Merkel, her decision to open the door to hundreds of thousands of migrants during the 2015-16 crisis had proved he was “totally wrong.”
His party had had won its first parliamentary seats in the last election, becoming the third party with 12.6% of the vote.