JNN 14 Mar 2013 Amsterdam : Fromer Geert Wilders’s Confidante and Former Dutch Islamophobe ‘Arnoud Van Doorn’ Converts to Islam . A former leading member in far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ party has reverted to Islam after an extensive study about the Islamic religion and Muslims.
In Holland, a major Islamophobic political and social activist, former member of parliament from a right-wing party, Arnoud van Doorn accepted Islam.
The former Islamophobe announced his decision to accept Islam on his Twitter profile. He also posted a tweet in Arabic declaring that “there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet,” in accordance with one of the five pillars of Islam.
At first, other users took the news as a joke. After all, an active supporter of a notorious Dutch hater of Islam, Wilders, has repeatedly approved Islamophobic statements and public actions, and personally participated in them.
But van Doorn, who now serves as a regional adviser at the City Hall in The Hague, personally confirmed his decision to practice Islam in an official letter to the city Mayor.
Most recently, the politician filed a formal application to the mayor of the city to allow him to perform prayers obligatory for Muslims during his working hours.
The information on conversion of van Doorn to Islam was confirmed on the official website of the mosque Al-Yaqeen in The Hague.
“We wish brother Arnoud a good new life as a Muslim and a lot of strength with the acquisition of knowledge”, the website says.
Arnoud van Doorn, who until December 2011 was vice-chairman of the PVV group on The Hague’s city council, announced his “new start” on Twitter.
The 46-year-old has continued on the council as an independent candidate since splitting from Wilders’s party.
Initially Van Doorn was reluctant to discuss his reasons for converting. But in a later interview with Al-Jazeera, he explained that his interest in the religion had gradually deepened after he began visiting a mosque in his home city out of curiosity.
He said: “I have heard many negative stories about the Islam, but I am not a person who follows opinions of others without doing my own research and forming my own opinion.
Therefore, I have actually started to deepen my knowledge of the Islam out of curiosity.
“My colleague Aboe Khoulani from the city council in The Hague has brought me further into contact with the as-Soennah mosque, which has guided me even further. There, I have been received very warmly and very positively.”
Asked if he now regretted joining the Freedom Party, he replied: “I have learned that every experience in life has a purpose. However, with the knowledge I have today, I would have undoubtedly made a different choice.”
In January Van Doorn was questioned by prosecutors about an article in the Hague edition of the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper based on confidential papers that he leaked to a journalist.
The leak was discovered during a wiretapped phone call while Van Doorn was being investigated over allegations that he sold soft drugs to children aged 14 and 15.
Van Doorn said the allegations were the result of a misunderstanding and that he had been involved in an undercover operation to unmask drug dealers in central The Hague. He admitted he had not properly considered the risks involved.
The articles concerned plans to sell the World Forum, an international conference centre in The Hague, which was discussed during a closed session of the council.
After accepting Islam, van Doorn gave an exclusive interview to Qatari English-language TV channel Al Jazeera, the text of which he published on his Twitter page:
Q: What would you say to the people who are sceptic towards your conversion into the Islam?
Van Doorn: I can understand that people are sceptic, especially since it is unexpected for many of them. In my own close circle people have known that I have been actively researching the Koran, Hadith, Sunnah and other writings for almost a year now. In addition, I have had numerous conversations with Muslims about the religion. This is a very big decision, which I have not taken lightly.
Q: How did you get in touch with the Islam?
Van Doorn: I have heard many negative stories about the Islam, but I am not a person who follows opinions of others without doing my own research and forming my own opinion. Therefore, I have actually started to deepen my knowledge of the Islam out of curiosity. My colleague Aboe Khoulani from the City Council in The Hague has brought me further into contact with the as-Soennah mosque, which has guided me even further. There, I have been received very warmly and very positively.
Q: In hindsight, do you have regrets of joining the PVV (Freedom Party)?
Van Doorn: I have learned that every experience in life has a purpose. However, with the knowledge I have today, I would have undoubtedly made a different choice.
Q: Which reactions have you received regarding your conversion?
Van Doorn: According to some people I am a traitor, but according to most others I have actually made a very good decision. The reactions are generally positive though. And I also receive quite some support via twitter. It feels good that people who do not know me personally have understanding of my situation and support me in my choice.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to state?
Van Doorn: I have made mistakes in life as many others. From these mistakes I have learned a lot. And by my conversion into the Islam I have the feeling that I finally found my path. I realize that this is a new start and that I still have much to learn as well. The expectation is that I will continue to face much resistance, also from certain government institutions. I have all faith in Allah to support me and to guide me through these moments.
“The expectation is that I will continue to face much resistance, also from certain government institutions,” he said.
“I have all faith in Allah to support me and to guide me through these moments.”