A former member of the Alternative for Germany’s (AfD) executive committee in Brandenburg has converted to Islam, but has decided to remain a member of the purportedly Islamophobic party, which captured 13% of the vote in last year’s federal elections.
Until recently, Arthur Wagner sat on the AfD state legislative committee in Brandenburg, according to the Local. When asked about his conversion, Wagner told reporters it was “a private matter” and refused further comment.
The Local pointed out that as recently as last summer Wagner was accusing Angela Merkel of making a “huge mistake” by opening Germany’s borders to refugees.
“Germany is mutating into a different country,” he said at the time.
At the same time, Wagner is known in his hometown of Falkensee for his volunteer work helping integrate refugees into German society.
The AfD claims that the spread of Islam in Germany poses a danger to societal peace.
On its homepage, Brandenburg branch writes that “Islam doesn’t belong in Germany. We see the ideology of multiculturalism as a serious threat to societal peace and cultural unity.
However, a party spokesperson said the party has no qualms with Wagner’s conversion, telling reporters that his choice of religion is “a private matter.” The spokesperson also said the party believes in religious freedom as outlined in the German state constitution.
The party added that Wagner left the executive committee for “personal reasons.”