Dutch former anti-Islam MP says he's become a Muslim
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Former far-Right MP who once called Islam "the biggest disease to have hit our country in the last hundred years" has become a Muslim in a shock conversion.
Joram van Klaveren was an MP from 2010 until 2017 for the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) led by anti-Islam and anti-immigration firebrand Geert Wilders. Mr van Klaveren once fiercely advocated Mr Wilders' policies of banning the Koran and closing down mosques.
However, he has now said that he discovered out he had more in common with Islam than he initially thought when he started research for a book criticizing the religion, which caused him to completely change his view.
Mr van Klaveren said: "I looked at the Bible on my bookshelf, on the table were books about the Prophet Muhammad.
"The prior years I had a big aversion to Islam. When you then have to conclude that you were wrong, it is not a fun moment. But while searching for God I always felt a certain unease. And that slowly disappeared. It felt a bit like coming home in a religious way."
Mr van Klaveren, who grew up in a reformed protestant family, said he is "very sorry that he contributed to giving people a false image about Islam".
He said that the manuscript of the Islam-critical book he initially planned to write has since been thrown into the bin and will be replaced by a book in which he will counter the arguments of critics of Islam.
Mr van Klaveren said that the analysis which he made as a far-Right MP that most problems in the country and the world can be blamed on Islam were false.
He said: "That was just the policy of the Party for Freedom: everything which was not right had to be linked one way or another to Islam."
Mr van Klaveren said he "did not suddenly become a Lefty" and that his conversion is purely a personal religious matter.