Arnoud Van Doorn, age 47, is wearing a white robe and a white hat (Islamic hat) and is not from a Dutch medical order. That is because these days he is sporting a smile as he performs Haj at Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.
And he’s a happy Muslim, said The Guardian.
Who is Van Doorn? And why is he making the news around Europe and the Muslim world with a pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are expected to perform at least once in their lives?
The answer is that the man who converted to Islam only about six months ago in April this year was an influential member of the extremist party based in The Hague, Holland.
Van Doorn was a member of the Geert Wilders’ anti-Islamic Party for Freedom. Geert Wilders is a Dutch politician who campaigns against Islam in Holland and in Europe, with the wish to kick them all out of the Netherlands.
He was also a member of the city council in The Hague.
As a member of the anti-Islamic party, he was responsible, among other things, for producing the film Fitna, which argued that Islam, and Muslims generally, are violent, intolerant and bent on world-domination.
The film created a storm across the globe with extremist elements in the Muslim world vowing to murder all those who disparaged Islam with the film – a film that ended with a Quran apparently burning – which is offensive to Muslims.
Quite a conversion then, said The Guardian. Indeed. “According to some people I am a traitor,” he told al-Jazeera at the time, “but according to most others I have actually made a very good decision.”
The Guardian also asked: How on Earth does a professional Islamophobe end up converting to it anyway? Very gradually, Van Doorn says. He started by reading the Qur’an and was then persuaded to visit a mosque, where he was surprised to find himself made welcome and ended up staying all day. “I had a warm feeling, and I was really a bit confused,”he says.
Get the latest news, opinions and commentaries. Available on Android