“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.’
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