Far-right politician converts to Islam because Church is too gay-friendly

A far-right political activist in Germany has converted to Islam, and says he was alienated by Christianity’s embrace of gay unions.

Arthur Wagner had been a key state legislative committee member for the hardline Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party in the German state of Brandenburg.

However, the 48-year-old political activist raised eyebrows earlier this month when he announced that he would be departing the role and converting to Islam.

Wagner confirmed his change of religion, which conflicts with the AfD’s anti-Muslim stance.

In an interview with the Bild newspaper today, he said he was motivated to convert due to Christianity’s growing acceptance of same-sex unions, and the participation of pastors at LGBT Pride events.

He said: “One of the reasons is tied to changes that have taken place in the church, which no longer reflects my values.”

The activist added: “One reason was changes in the church, which are no longer consistent with my understanding: their attitude to the AfD, support for [equal marriage] and the participation of pastors at Christopher Street Day, where there are children. That is not okay!”

Pride events in central Europe are often known as Christopher Street Day parades, in honour of the location of the Stonewall riots.

Wagner says he converted to Islam after meeting Muslims on a trip to Russia, and finding them to be “open and honest people”.

The politician officially converted in October, taking the name Ahmad.

Although he voluntarily quit his leadership role in the AfD, Wagner remains a party member.

The party leadership has indicated that it will not expel him, although several local members have called on him to be kicked out.

His religion strongly contrasts with the party’s own messages.

On its website, AfD Brandenburg writes that “Islam doesn’t belong in Germany”, and that “the ideology of multiculturalism [is] a serious threat to societal peace and cultural unity”.

Same-sex weddings began in Germany last year, after the country’s Chancellor Angela Merkel changed her long-standing position on the issue to allow a vote to go ahead.

Mrs Merkel still cast her own personal vote against equal marriage, but allowed the bill to pass in a concession to reformers within her party as well as her then-coalition partners.

The AfD was strongly opposed to equal marriage, with the party vowing a legal challenge against the new law.

The party claimed that the equal marriage law violates Germany’s constitution, because the document specifies states that marriage “shall enjoy the special protection of the state”.

The Constitution does not set out a specific definition of marriage.

The party last year picked a 38-year-old lesbian as their candidate for Chancellor.

Alice Weidel

Alice Weidel, who is considered a relative liberal within the party, has two children with her same-sex partner.

The politician has always dismissed accusations of hypocrisy for backing a party that remains staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage and adoption – while herself raising children a gay family.

Though she is gay, Ms Weidel rejects the label of LGBT activist, declaring that “political correctness belongs on the rubbish heap of history.”

After the anti-immigration focused campaign, the AfD became the third largest party in Germany – claiming a record 94 seats in the Bundestag.