Readers were angry, commenters were afraid. But most importantly: they were confused.
Arthur Wagner, a senior politician from Germany’s far-right AfD (“Alternative for Germany”) party, last week announced his change of heart and conversion to Islam, before resigning from the anti-Muslim and -immigrant organisation.
While widely reported in the press, Wagner had requested he be given the privacy towards his spirituality afforded towards other normal citizens. Aside from his decision to leave a party that professes an anti-Islamisation policy, this display of private spirituality has been left without a political veneer. One could almost have assumed the far-right would look inward and contemplate their own bias, with the concept that maybe, Islam is actually a religion.
Breitbart readers asked the internet to hold their Bier and doubled down:
“He was either a plant or was threatened with death.”
“These traitors are in every country and are preparing for the end game they think is coming. Boy are they gonna be surprised when to patriots regain control.” (Given Breitbart’s readership, one can safely assume which German patriots this reader is referring to, although they are 73 years out-of-practice)
“You do not go from campaigning against islam to converting to islam. This man was obviously a plant, he infiltrated the party for this very purpose.”
“Most converts to Islam I’ve come across appear to have mental health problems.”
“How long has he really been a Muslim? Has he been a long time Muslim infiltrator and how many more are there? Is this just restricted to Germany?”
“Europeans don’t convert to Islam, the problem is the invasion and population replacement by non-Europeans.”
Instead of even contemplating the concept that Islam won over one of its hardest critics, and that he embraced this faith with his heart, Breitbart and its readership have gone to lengths to explain this away, from conspiracies accusing him of being a long-time Muslim infiltrator assigned to embarrass the AfD, speculation on mental health, and even European body-swapping.
Breitbart also recently reported the name Muhammad looked set to become the next most popular name in Germany, even though at this stage it is 26th, although 3rd most popular in neighbouring Austria. In response, the alt-right readership has capitulated and renamed the nation “Germanistan”.