Until just the other day, Arthur Wagner was a leading member of Alternative for Germany, the anti-Islam party that has the Homeric epithet “right-wing” permanently affixed to it, and is known for its mantra that “Islam doesn’t belong in Germany.” Now, this once senior member of the party in Brandenburg, where he sat on the AfD’s state legislative committee, a member of the state committee with responsibility for churches and religious communities, has caused a sensation by converting to Islam.
He resigned his position on the party’s national executive committee on January 11 for what he called “personal reasons.” He will remain a member of the party. “The party has no problem with that,” its spokesman Daniel Friese said, adding that the AfD represents the interests of Muslims, and also of Christians and homosexuals.
Wagner became an AfD member in 2015 after switching from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).
He refused to answer questions about his conversion.
“That’s my private business,” he told the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel.
No doubt Muslims, and not only in Germany, are delighted with this news. For what could it possibly mean other than that the light of Islam, its truth and beauty, had shown so bright that even someone like Arthur Wagner, despite the dismal company he had kept at the AfD, managed, as he learned more about the faith, and saw the wonderful effect it had on the Believers with whom he came into contact, to overcome his “islamophobia” and, still more heartening, simply had to become a Muslim himself?
Might there be more to this curious case than simply one more weak-minded Infidel — think of Tony Blair’s sister-in-law — being persuaded that Islam was the faith for him? The Tagesspiegel reported Wednesday that Wagner, who joined AfD shortly after it was founded in 2013, has in the past been active in a group assisting refugees.
It seems to me that there are three possible reasons why Arthur Wagner decided to convert to Islam. The first is the most obvious: that having been dead set against more Muslim immigrants, he decided to have a look into the faith whose adherents, according to his own party, “have no place in Germany,” and was struck by the sheer wonderfulness of Islam. After all, the refugees he’d been assisting were mostly Muslims, and inclined to sing the praises of their faith. To do what Wagner did out of genuine belief is not impossible — strange things happen every day.
But there are two other conceivable explanations for Arthur Wagner’s behavior. The first may be called the “cherchez-la-femme” (look for the woman) theme. Among the refugees Wagner had been helping, there might well have been a Muslimah who caught his fancy. And if she responded, well, since he’s not exactly Gregory Peck, he might have been thrilled.
As a female refugee, she would of course see a solution to all her problems if she could land this particular fish, and he, in turn, would be delighted to have such a mate. Of course, given that in Islam, men are superior to women, it would be unthinkable for a Muslim wife to submit to a non-Muslim husband. Before getting married, the non-Muslim husband-to-be must, therefore, convert to Islam. Which Arthur Wagner may have been perfectly willing to do.
There is still another conceivable variant. Muslims in Brandenburg, knowing of Arthur Wagner’s work with Muslim refugees, and of his desire for a mate, might have persuaded a Muslim woman, refugee or not, to respond to him, all in the path of Allah of course, and then to demand that he convert so that they might marry. What a coup for Islam that would be — and has now turned out, in fact, to be. You can just imagine how often Muslims will be bringing up the case of Arthur Wagner, as proof of Islam’s greatness, for it can “overcome even the worst sort of islamophobia.”
The third possible explanation is of the filthy-lucre sort. He might have thought of it himself, or someone may have suggested to him that, by turning Turk, there was money to be made. Think of all the speaking engagements now available to Arthur Wagner, throughout the deepest-pocketed Muslim lands — in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar — or even audiences of Muslims in Germany. His subject would be the one that every devout Muslim wants to hear: “Why I Became A Muslim.” That triumphalist topic ought to be worth 50-100,000 dollars per speech, given that he was a high-ranking official in the AfD, the most unlikely, and therefore the most valuable, kind of convert. And after all, Wagner would have done nothing wrong. He became a Muslim, and now he’s speaking about it. Why shouldn’t he? How dare anyone question his motives? Is he any worse than so many of our past presidents, secretaries of state, national security advisors, big shots of every sort, who once out of office head out to the Gulf (Persian, Arabian, take your pick) to pocket most generous honoraria? Arthur Wagner has a story, he wants to tell it, and there are people, his fellow Muslims, who want to hear it.
Eventually we’ll find out what led Arthur Wagner to the One True Faith. If there’s a woman involved, he’s not going to keep her waiting. If it’s money he is after, just keep track of his speaking schedule. And if, mirabile dictu, he actually went from warning about Islam to becoming a Muslim, because he has indeed become a True Believer, then not just in Houston, but in Germany, Europe, the entire Western world, meine Damen und Herren, we have ein großes Problem.