THE HAGUE: A Dutch former far-right MP and right-hand man of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has set tongues wagging in the Netherlands after revealing he has converted to Islam, news reports said Tuesday.
For years Joram van Klaveren fought a relentless campaign in the Lower House against Islam in the Netherlands as a lawmaker for Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV).
At the time, the “hardliner pleaded for banning the burqa and minarets, saying ‘we don’t want any Islam, or at least as little as possible in the Netherlands’,” the daily tabloid Algemeen Dagblad (AD) said.
But the 40-year-old Van Klaveren said he had changed his mind halfway through writing an anti-Islam book.
“If everything I wrote up to that point is true, and I believe that, then I am a de facto Muslim,” he said.
Van Klaveren converted to Islam on October 26 last year, the NRC said in an interview piece ahead of the release of Van Klaveren’s book titled an ‘Apostate: From Christianity to Islam in the Time of Secular Terror.’
The former politician who grew up in an orthodox Protestant Christian environment said of his conversion that he “has been searching for a long time.”
“It feels a bit like a religious homecoming for me,” he told Dutch newspapers.
“His conversion has surprised both friend and enemy,” the ADnewspaper said.
Van Klaveren split with Wilders in 2014 after the PVV leader’s controversial comments that year when asking supporters whether they wanted “fewer or more Moroccans in your city and the Netherlands”.