Politician with Germany's hard-right AfD leaves party after converting to Islam

Politician with Germany's hard-right AfD leaves party after converting to Islam

The far-right anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) party confirmed on Tuesday Wagners's conversion.

A spokesperson for the party said he had converted to Islam and he had officially quit his leadership role in the eastern state of Brandenburg as of 11 January. Friese added that the party has no issue with Wagner's decision.

"That's my private business", he told the daily.

The anti-immigration party received a surge in support in Germany's 2017 election, securing a record 12.6 percent of the vote and raising pressure on embattled Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had been outspoken in her backing for refugees and migrants settling in the country.

The party became the third largest party in the Bundestag.

Arthur Wagner said he had resigned his party membership after deciding to become a Muslim.

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He is believed to be the first AfD member to have converted to Islam after joining the party, although the party spokesman said there were other Muslims within its ranks. "Islam does not belong to Germany", it read.

A senior figure in Germany's far-right anti-Islam party has resigned his post after converting to Islam.

Originally founded in 2013 as a Eurosceptic party, the AfD took the lead as the most aggressive anti-refugee voice in the country while almost a million asylum seekers arrived in Germany in 2015. "Islam does not belong to Germany", one of its popular slogans read.

Earlier this month, an AfD lawmaker caused a furore after accusing police of "appeasing the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men" by tweeting in Arabic. In March 2016, the party's Bavaria branch published a policy statement calling for an end to the construction and operation of mosques in the region, the Deutsche Welle reported at the time.

He was previously a member of her Christian Democrats party.

"The growing Islamization of Germany poses an urgent challenge for its public and state order, cultural identity and the internal peace of our country", Gauland said.

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