In an ironic turn of events, a far-right German politician who was publicly critical and in opposition of Islam has reportedly become Muslim himself.
Arthur Wagner, a former leading member of a far-right party that campaigned against Muslims has recently left the party and converted to Islam.
Wagner was part of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, an anti-immigration group that believes “Islam is not a part of Germany” and has called for banning the Islamic call to prayer.
He is believed to have become the first AfD member to convert to Islam after joining the party.
The party’s September 2017 campaign slogans featured “Islam has no place in Germany” and “Against the Islamisation of Germany,” inciting negative sentiments against Muslim refugees living in the country.
AfD has tried to ban the construction of mosques in Germany and suggested that border police shoot refugees and migrants trying to enter the country.
Wagner himself has previously said German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a “huge mistake” by allowing many Muslim refugees into the country, according to German media.
However, in a surprising change of heart, Wagner has confirmed to a Berlin daily that he has taken his Shahada – a declaration of faith in Islam.
Wagner is considered the first member of the AfD to have converted to Islam after joining the party, but according to the party’s spokesperson, there have been Muslim members in the group.
“It is a private matter,” Wagner told national newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.
According to Vox, German media reports he has been spending his free time volunteering with Muslim immigrants, which might have changed the way he views Islam.
Wagner, who was previously a part of the Christian Democrats and joined the AfD in 2015, has thus become among the 1.9 percent of the German population that identifies as Muslim.
“You never know”
Alhamdullilahs and mashallahs are pouring in
Muslims are welcoming him to the religion
“This is one of the ‘consequences’ of honestly studying Islam”