“I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger”
By this phrase the ex-member of Geert Wilders’s right-wing anti-Islam Freedom Party, Arnoud van Doorn, surprisingly declared his conversion to Islam.
Via his account on the famous social networking site,Twitter, Arnoud announced in Dutch his ‘Nieuwe start’ (New start) as a Muslim. The news was confirmed in Dutch news as well.
The news is one of the latest breaking in the Netherlands.
Till the end of 2011, Arnoud van Doorn was a member of the fiery, far-right, anti-Islam, anti-immigration Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) Dutch party.
On February 27, 2013, Arnoud posted a tweet in Arabic declaring his Shahadah (Testimony of Faith): Ashhadu an-la ilaha illallah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu (I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger).
The phrase is known as the First Pillar of Islam that in order for a person to be a Muslim this conviction is firstly needed.
Given his previous explicit views on Islam, Arnoud’s story was a shock to many who doubted and harshly criticized the announcement, which is still a subject of debate on twitter. In another tweet, he expressed his grief and discomfort with ‘the many hateful comments on social media’.
Arnoud account was deluged with hundreds of followers and positive comments backing and congratulating his choice. To them he posted a late tweet in both English and Arabic expressing his gratitude: ‘Thanks for all the support!’
In face of strong attacks on Twitter, Arnoud declined to comment on the reasons or circumstances behind his conversion, confirming that the choice is his own and that his religion was ‘a matter of privacy’.
He just stated that more details about his conversion will be released soon.
And it is…
In an interview with Al-Jazeera.net, Doorn made it quite certain confirming the truth of his conversion, and thus removing the spreading doubts about it.
‘Anyone who knows me closely can just predict the decision. For more than a year now I have been learning deeply about Islam through books and talks.
‘No doubt, other than those close, many are shocked by the decision, particularly those who know of my anti-Islam stands. And this is why they are questioning it.’
On the grounds for his decision Arnoud explained: ‘I’m a person who is looking beneath the surface of things, so I judge them not according to the appearance or just what’s said and heard.
‘After communicating with a Muslim colleague at The Hague’s city council- and after long discussions in fact- he directed me to the Sunni mosque where I was embraced with all kindness and affection. My decision came later as I freely embraced Islam. And it is one of my own, out of the question.”
And on quitting a party known with its open enmity against Islam, and being at time one of its voices, Doorn said: ‘We all make mistakes. But, regardless of that, I see for every life experience there’s a meaning. And my own experience has its relevance to my new choice.’
‘ I’ve learned so much from such experience. And I believe it is the reason why I am a Muslim now. It is a new beginning of my life I ask God to guide me through’, He concluded.
Certainly, guidance is from Allah (Exalted is He), and Arnoud is the very example.
We all welcome Arnoud to Islam and ask God to guide him to His right path.