Politician from Anti-Muslim Party in Germany Converts to Islam

A politician from a German party, known for its anti-Muslim rhetoric, converted to Islam. (Reuters)
A politician from a German party, known for its anti-Muslim rhetoric, converted to Islam. (Reuters)
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Politician from Anti-Muslim Party in Germany Converts to Islam

A politician from a German party, known for its anti-Muslim rhetoric, converted to Islam. (Reuters)
A politician from a German party, known for its anti-Muslim rhetoric, converted to Islam. (Reuters)

A politician from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which is known for its anti-Muslim rhetoric, has quit his position from the party’s board and converted to Islam.

Arthur Wagner will remain a member of the party.

“Mr. Wagner resigned on January 11 from the state board on his own volition. Only afterwards was it known that he had converted to Islam,” said Daniel Friese, a spokesman of the party.

The party said it stood for the constitutional right of religious freedom, regardless of Wagner’s conversion.

“Mr. Wagner could also choose another religion,” Friese told Berliner Zeitung, noting that Wagner had resigned from the board two weeks ago.

Wagner declined to comment on his conversion. “He does not want to speak with the press. He believes it is a private affair,” the party spokesman said.

Berlin daily 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.

The AfD became Germany’s third largest party in parliament after last September’s general election.

The Afd has campaigned against what it considers the "Islamization" of Germany because of immigration and higher birth rates among the country's Muslim population.



Fire at Hospital in Iran’s North Kills 9 Patients

The Iranian flag. (AFP)
The Iranian flag. (AFP)
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Fire at Hospital in Iran’s North Kills 9 Patients

The Iranian flag. (AFP)
The Iranian flag. (AFP)

A fire broke out at a hospital in Iran's north, killing nine patients, state media reported Tuesday.

The blaze started at 1:30 local time (2200GMT) at Qaem Hospital in the city of Rasht, some 330 kilometers (about 205 miles) northwest of the capital Tehran, state TV said, leaving six women and three men dead.

Chief of the city fire department, Shahram Momeni, said on state TV that an electric short circuit in the basement — which harbors the intensive care unit — malfunctioned, causing the fire.

Momeni said emergency workers rescued more than 140 people, patients and hospital staff, after being trapped because of the smoke, and that 120 of them were hospitalized in other medical facilities. He added that an investigation has been ordered.

A video posted online appeared to show smoke billowing from the hospital in the middle of the night.

Iranian media occasionally report on fires in hospitals and clinics that are mainly blamed on technical issues.

In 2020, an explosion from a gas leak in a medical clinic in northern Tehran killed 19 people.