Gabriel Gatehouse meets Arthur Wagner, a member of the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, who has surprised many by converting to Islam. Newsnight is the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs TV programme – with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.
A politician for Germany’s far-right Alternative für Deutschland party, which campaigns on an anti-Muslim ticket, has converted to Islam and left the party, a spokesman has confirmed.
Arthur Wagner, a leading member of the party in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, said he would not comment on his reason for leaving the party, but confirmed to a Berlin daily that he had converted to Islam and that he had renounced his party membership on 11 January.
“It is a private matter,” he told Der Tagesspiegel, adding that it had been his decision to leave.
A party spokesman said it had not been concerned by Wagner’s conversion, and also confirmed it had not pushed him to leave. It claimed it had not known of his move when he announced his departure.
“The party has no problem with it,” said Daniel Friese, a spokesman for the Brandenburg branch of the AfD. Being a Muslim was no barrier to being a member of the party, he said, despite the fact that among the party’s campaign slogans before September’s general election were “Islam has no place in Germany” and “Against the Islamisation of Germany”.
We have saved the above video in the Muslim Times as well: