Another Dutch Anti Islam Politician Becomes Muslim
A former Dutch politician from Geert Wilders’ right-wing Freedom Party (PVV) has announced his unexpected conversion to Islam.
Joram Van Klaveren had been a fierce critic of Islam and was elected to Parliament in 2010, as part of the sweeping support for Wilder’s anti-Muslim rhetoric which saw the PVV become the third-largest party in the Netherlands.
During his time in politics, Van Klaveren became known for his inflammatory anti-Islam statements. He had previously called Islam “a lie,” its holy book the Quran “poison” and the prophet Muhammad “a crook.”
He quit the PVV party in 2014 after disagreeing with Wilders’s racist insults against the Moroccan community in the Netherlands. Van Klaveren set up his own party but failed to get re-elected in the 2017 elections.
Without politicking to occupy his time, Van Klaveren decided to write a book critical of Islam. Ironically, while in the middle of his research his views of Islam started to be challenged and he had to reassess and rewrite the book, eventually converting to the faith in October 2018 and announcing the news on Monday.
In an interview with a Dutch radio channel he said “During that writing, I came across more and more things that made my views on Islam falter”. He added that he found out he “was simply wrong” about Islam.
However, his “biggest obstacle” was eliminating his negative perceptions of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). “There are a lot of lies spread out about the man,” he said adding that it was only after realizing this that “I could say that I was a Muslim.”
Having now disavowed his former views on Islam as “simply wrong,” Van Klaveren took aim at his former party’s policy stating that everything “wrong had to be linked to Islam in one way or another.”
Commenting on Van Klaveren’s conversion was another former PVV official and Islam convert, Arnoud Van Doorn. Writing on Twitter he said: “I never thought that the PVV would become a breeding ground for converts.”
Many other right wing European politician who used to be staunch enemies of Islam ended up becoming Muslims. Examples include Arthur Wagner and Werner Klawun from Germany, Maxence Buttey from France, Arnoud Van Doorn from the Netherlands.
These events remind us to never lose hope in the face of hate. When Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) visited the city of Taif to invite its people to Islam, they greeted him with mockery and ridicule and set upon him the idlers and the louts of the city. They pelted him with clods and rocks. Wounded and covered with blood, Muhammad staggered out of Taif. He reached a garden a few miles outside of the city. There he sat down, tired and bleeding, all alone under a tree and prayed to God:
“O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources and the humiliation I have been subjected to by the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favor is of a more expansive relief to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or Your displeasure descends upon me. I desire Your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You”.
At this point, the prophet saw the Angel Gabriel, who said to him “O Muhammad, your Lord has seen how your people have responded to you, your Lord has seen what they have said to you, so he has sent me with the angel of the mountains to place at your disposal. If you wish, command me and I will cause the two mountains of Taif to collapse upon them.” The prophet replied “No! Rather, I pray that from among them or their descendants, there would be those who worship Allah alone and do not associate a partner with him”.