German right-winger converts to Islam. Gays are the reason.
Arthur Wagner, 48, a far-right German politician, has caused an upset in his hardline, anti-Muslim ADF party by converting to Islam.
Now it’s reported that some members of the Alternative für Deutschland party want him kicked out.
He had been a key state legislative committee member for the AfD party in the German state of Brandenburg.
In an interview with the Bild newspaper this week, 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.
One of the reasons is tied to changes that have taken place in the church, which no longer reflects my values.
Wagner attacked churches’ attitude to the AfD, support for equal marriage and the participation of pastors at Christopher Street Day, where there are children. He said:
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.
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 booted out.
In this report he says he has received threatening letters since his conversion became public.
I get letters telling me to get out of Germany before I start making bombs.
Kai Berger, the head of the local party chapter said:
I learned he’d become Muslim in the newspaper. I’m really disappointed. A lot of our members expect him to leave the AfD, but unfortunately we can’t expel him.
His new 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.
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, above, 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, 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.