A prominent member of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has quit his leadership role and converted to Islam out of disgust over what he considers growing acceptance of LGBT people.
Arthur Wagner, 48, converted to Islam back in October and resigned as an AfD leader in the eastern German state of Brandenburg earlier this month, but he has only now revealed his motivation: That his “values” weren’t being adequately represented by the party or by the Protestant church.
“One of the reasons is tied to changes that have taken place in the church, which no longer reflects my values,” he told German newspaper Bild.
Arthur Wagner was an elected official & member of the AfD party, an extremist, Far-Right, anti-Muslim party that wanted to ban Muslims, mosques, & niqabs; & wipe out the presence of Islam in Germany.
Yesterday, he converted to Islam & resigned from the party.
— Dr. Yasir Qadhi (@YasirQadhi) January 24, 2018
The Evangelical Church in Germany, the country’s leading protestant denomination, allows for same-sex civil unions and the ordination of LGBT ministers. Wagner called out “the participation of pastors at Christopher Street Day,” Germany’s LGBT Pride celebration, “where there are children. It’s unacceptable!”
Formerly a member of the Christian Democrats, he joined the AfD in 2015. He bemoaned the group’s “support for marriage for all,” even though AfD officially opposes marriage equality—and even threatened to sue when Germany passed same-sex marriage laws.
Of course AfD did select an out lesbian, former banker Alice Weidel, as its new leader. And the group has been pitting LGBT Germans against Muslims to gather support.
AfD garnered representation in the German parliament for the first time last year, earning nearly 13% of the national vote.
Wagner remains a registered member of AfD and party officials insist he was not forced out.
“The party has no problem with it,” spokesman Daniel Friese told The Guardian. “The AfD contains interest groups for Muslims, Christians and homosexuals.”