'Private Matter:' German AfD Member Converts to Islam, Quits the Party
Daniel Friese, spokesman for the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, has said that the religious affiliation of former AfD member Arthur Wagner was not a problem for the party.
Arthur Wagner, a German of Russian origin, has stepped down from his leading membership in the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party's national executive committee after he reportedly converted to Islam, according to Deutsche Welle.
AfD spokesman Daniel Friese said that Wagner resigned for personal reasons and that the party "has no problem" with the fact that Wagner became a Muslim.
"Religion is a private matter. We support the constitutional right of religious freedom," he said.
According to Friese, the AfD includes groups which represent the interests of Muslims, Christians and homosexuals.
Wagner, for his part, confirmed his resignation during an interview with the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, saying that "it is a private matter."
Making plain that he hadn't stepped down because of his new religious affiliation, Wagner said that "there was no pressure" and that "it has not changed anything."
In the September 2017 elections, the AfD managed to obtain 12.6 percent of the vote, placing third after the Christian Democrats (CDU)/Christian Social Union (CSU) coalition and the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
Founded in February 2013, the AfD focuses on so-called "soft" Euroscepticism, generally supporting Germany's membership in the European Union but slamming further European integration, unchecked immigration and the existence of the euro.
Also, the party calls for the dissolution of the Eurozone and opposes what the AfD describes as "the Islamization" of Germany.