Arnoud van Doorn (born 18 March 1966, The Hague) is a former far-right politician from the anti-islamic Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders. In December 2011, the party broke with Van Doorn. He decided to become a Muslim a few years later, after learning about the teachings of Islam. Until May 2014, he served as a member of The Hague City Council for the PvdE, a political party based on Islam. At the moment he is President of the European Da’wah Foundation, and Ambassador of Celebrity Relations for the Canadian Da’wah Association in Europe. He is a Member of the Board and Official Representative for the PvdE in the city council of The Hague.
In February 2014 Van Doorn was sentenced to pay a fine on leaking secret documents to the press, possession of an illegal flare gun, and for selling soft drugs to minors, in 2014 it was raised to an extra 240 hours of community service. Van Doorn claimed to have sold the soft drugs in order to catch a drug dealer, although the judge called his explanation “very implausable”.
Conversion to Islam
Van Doorn announced his conversion to Islam in April 2012. Soon after, he performed Hajj to Saudi Arabia and visited the Prophet’s Mosque. He said that the overwhelming reaction of Muslims around the world against the film Fitna made him interested to learn more that led to his decision to convert to Islam. He stated, “Right now I am still feeling regret for having distributed the film. I have a responsibility to correct the mistakes that I’ve done in the past.” citation needed Later his eldest son, Iskander Amien De Vries, followed him in converting to Islam in 2014.
Manifestations of anti-Semitism
After Jewish businessman Steve Maman paid for the release of 140 Yazidi and Christian women and girls captured by ISIS. Van Doorn responded on Twitter with: “To sell with a profit?”
After this tweet, various publishers, including Esther Voet, editor of the New Israelite Weekly and Leon Verdonschot, columnist for the Nieuwe Revu, called Van Doorn an anti-Semite. Van Doorn denied it was anti-Semitism.
In July 2016, Van Doorn called the failed coup in Turkey a “Zionist-Western conspiracy”.
The news about the conversion to Islam of Arnoud Van Doorn, former vice-chairman for Geert Wilders, famous Dutch anti-Islam politician, has great reverberations on the media.
Geert Wilders is famous for muslims through his PVV party notorious movie, Fitna, which has been commissioned against Prophet of Islam and Geert had insulted Islam.
However, Mr. Arnoud, through studying Islamic sources, ultimately decided on conversion and posted in his Twitter page his ‘proclamation of his faith’ in Arabic and surprised everybody.
In an interview to MNA English service, Arnoud expressed his interest to travel to Iran and other Islamic countries. He said he was looking forward to see Isfahan, Shiraz, and Qum.
Now the interview:
Question: If possible, first, let’s talk a little about your reasons for accepting Islam. What happened that you’ve chosen to convert to Islam?
MNA: I have studied the Quran based on curiosity, starting about a year ago (after I left the PVV). Before that I’ve only heard negative stories about Islam. The more I was reading (also Sunnah, Hadith, etc.) the more I was convinced that the Islam is actually a beautiful and wise religion. I have had a religious education as a Christian, so I shared already a lot of values. It is easier to convert from a Christian to Islam then from a “non-believer” because I was known with the prophets, the angels and the discipline that is necessary within any religion.
Twitts Arnoud posted after his conversion to Islam
MNA: You were a member of a party that is known to be an anti-Islamic party, and even a film was made against the Prophet by the party ordering. While it seems that such parties have not acquired an exact knowledge of Islam, why they have taken such a stance on Islam?
Van Doorn: I have never been “extreme right”, neither is the PVV in fact. But I had -like many people- prejudges about Muslims. Like they are all fanatics, oppressing women, intolerant and hostile against the Western society and violent. Wilders as a person is a friendly and amiable men. Some of his points like critics on the EU, the financial system, and the crisis are valid in my opinion. But I do not share his negative vision of the Islam and the Arabic World. It is stigmatizing all Muslims. Creating fear and polarising is an easy way to mobilise people, as it appeals on their “gut feeling”, prejudges and bias.
MNA: After converting to Islam, what was the reaction of your former co-workers in the party?
Van Doorn: I have not spoken with Geert Wilders since I left the PVV. I don’t know. I have had no feedback what so ever. As you leave the PVV you are basically “non-existing” anymore. Former colleagues are scared to have contact with me. It is not good for their career within the PVV if they do. (…)
MNA: If you were to invite a non-Muslim to Islam, what are the most important features that you would refer to?
Van Doorn: As I said before: study Islam, step over your prejudges, and you will see that the Islam is actually a beautiful and very pure religion, with a great history and high standards. We take care for each other in prosperity and adversity. It gives inner peace and wisdom, and it deepens your spiritual live. Life is more than money and materialism (the typical “western success factor”). You will become a stronger and better person.
Geert Wilders, commissioner of Fitna, a movie against Islam
MNA: In the West, Islam is generally accused of promoting terrorism, anti-human rights issues or maltreatment of women. What is your response to these charges?
Van Doorn: Again: prejudgement is the cause, based on lack of knowledge. You can find fanatics in any religion, all over the world. Unfortunately, the 1% fanatics are showed on tv and other news media, and their influence is magnified. 99% of the Muslims is hardworking and peaceable. If more people will study the true Islam, the more people will see the beauty of it.
MNA: What do you think about the reasons behind some efforts to promote atheism in the world and what is your advice to those who are hesitant between belief and disbelief?
Van Doorn: I can only guess. The Western influentials and most politicians don’t like religion in any form. The less people belief, the more people are depending of other values, like economy, money, consumption and material prosperity. Western industrials want people basically to consume, instead of searching for inner strength. “Spending and consuming” should by the standard for happiness. “Believers” are stronger and less dependent of those issues. It is not in the interest of politicians and other influentials that people should become more independent of them and develop other insights. This is also what I tell them who are hesitant between belief and disbelief.
I like to travel. I have been in Morocco (climbing the Toubkal in the snow), Algeria, Jordan and Egypt. I have friends in many countries. In June I am going to Iran accompanying a friend who is cycling around the world for 5 years. We will start at Shiraz, and we will cycle 2000 km across Iran into Turkey. I am looking forward to see Shiraz, Esfahan and Qom.