By Ayhan Simsek
BERLIN (AA) - A local politician from the far-right, Alternative for Germany (AfD), has converted to Islam, media reported on Tuesday.
Arthur Wagner, AfD’s vice-president in the eastern Havelland district, declined to make a comment on his decision.
“It is a private matter,” the 48-year-old politician told Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.
The AfD adopted explicitly anti-Islamic rhetoric and argued that Germany was under the threat of “Islamization”, especially after nearly one million refugees, mostly from Syria and Iraq, arrived in the country since 2015.
Wagner confirmed that he recently resigned from the AfD’s board in the federal state of Brandenburg , but argued it was not because of his religious affiliation.
“There was no pressure. It has not changed anything,” he told the newspaper.
AfD Brandenburg’s spokesman Daniel Friese said Wagner’s religious affiliation was not a problem for the party.
“Religion is a private matter. We support the constitutional right of religious freedom,” he said.
AfD’s basic program, which was adopted last year, claimed that "Islam does not belong to Germany”.
It argued that increasing the number of Muslims in the country was a danger to Germany’s state, society and values.
The AfD has become the third-largest party in Germany, after winning 12.6 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections on Sept. 24.