In Holland, a major islamophobic political and social activist, former memberof parliament from a right-wing party, Arnoud van Doorn accepted Islam.
The former islamophobe announced his decision to accept Islam on his Twitterprofile. He says it is a new beginning of his life and published the declaration of Shahada (the words on monotheismto become a Muslim) in Arabic.
At first, other users took the news as a joke. After all, an active supporterof a notorious Dutch hater of Islam, Wilders, has repeatedly approvedislamophobic statements and public actions, and personally participated in them.
But van Doorn, who now serves as a regional adviser at the City Hall in TheHague, personally confirmed his decision to practice Islam in an official letterto the city Mayor.
Most recently, the politician filed a formal application to the mayor of thecity to allow him to perform prayers obligatory for Muslims during his workinghours.
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 strengthwith the acquisition of knowledge", the website says.
After accepting Islam, van Doorn gave an exclusive interview to QatariEnglish-language TV channel Al Jazeera, the text of which he published on his Twitter page:
Al Jazeera: What would you say to the people who are sceptictowards your conversion into the Islam?
Van Doorn: I can understand that people are sceptic, especially sinceit is unexpected for many of them. In my own close circle people have known thatI have been actively researching the Koran, Hadith, Sunnah and other writingsfor almost a year now. In addition, I have had numerous conversations withMuslims about the religion. This is a very big decision, which I have not takenlightly.
Al Jazeera: How did you get in touch with the Islam?
Van Doorn: I have heard many negative stories about the Islam, but Iam not a person who follows opinions of others without doing my own research andforming my own opinion. Therefore, I have actually started to deepen myknowledge of the Islam out of curiosity. My colleague Aboe Khoulani from theCity Council in The Hague has brought me further into contact with theas-Soennah mosque, which has guided me even further. There, I have been receivedvery warmly and very positively.
Al Jazeera: 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 adifferent choice.
Al Jazeera: Which reactions have you received regarding yourconversion?
Van Doorn: According to some people I am a traitor, but according tomost others I have actually made a very good decision. The reactions aregenerally positive though. And I also receive quite some support via twitter. Itfeels good that people who do not know me personally have understanding of mysituation and support me in my choice.
Al Jazeera: Is there anything else you would like tostate?
Van Doorn: I have made mistakes in life as many others. From thesemistakes I have learned a lot. And by my conversion into the Islam I have thefeeling that I finally found my path. I realize that this is a new start andthat I still have much to learn as well. The expectation is that I will continueto face much resistance, also from certain government institutions. I have allfaith in Allah to support me and to guide me through these moments.
Department of Monitoring