Arthur Wagner, one of the leaders of the Brandenburg branch of Germany’s Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) – a party best known for its strident opposition to immigration and belief that Islam is at odds with European values, has resigned from the party and converted Islam, reports German daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.
« The party has no problem with this decision, » said AfD spokesman Daniel Friese in the daily. « Religion is a private matter. Respect for freedom of worship is a fundamental obligation. Mr. Wagner could have chosen any other religion, « he added. Daniel Friese also guaranteed that his party protected the rights « of Muslims, Christians and homosexuals ».
A former member of the CDU, he left Merkel’s party in 2012, to join the AfD where he was active in the Christian wing of the party. He was re-elected head of churches and religious communities for the party in April 2017.
In a video broadcast during the summer of 2017, he criticised « the opening » of borders during the refugee crisis. « Germany is becoming another country, » he said. However, along with his political commitment, he was also involved in volunteering for the integration of refugees in his hometown of Falkensee, in northeastern Germany.
The AfD has made a name for itself as its anti-migrant and anti-Islam party that sees “great danger” in the « expansion and the presence of an ever increasing number of Muslims” in Germany. Mobilised against the « Islamization of Germany », the party campaign against the building of mosques in the country.
In the last general elections, on 24 September 2017, the AfD entered Parliament after winning about 13 percent of the vote.