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From Wilders to Muhammad: Former Freedom Party vice-chairman converts to Islam

A former member of Geert Wilders’s anti-immigration Freedom Party has converted to Islam.

Arnoud van Doorn (right) with Dutch Iranian politician and activist Ehsan Jami, in 2010. Jami has since joined the PVV while Van Doorn has left.Arnoud van Doorn, who until December 2011 was vice-chairman of the PVV group on The Hague’s city council, announced his “new start” on Twitter.

He also posted a tweet in Arabic declaring that “there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet,” in accordance with one of the five pillars of Islam.

The 46-year-old (pictured, above, with Dutch Iranian politician Ehsan Jami in 2010) has continued on the council as an independent candidate since splitting from Wilders’s party.

Initially Van Doorn was reluctant to discuss his reasons for converting. But in a later interview with Al-Jazeera, he explained that his interest in the religion had gradually deepened after he began visiting a mosque in his home city out of curiosity.

He said: “I have heard many negative stories about the Islam, but I am not a person who follows opinions of others without doing my own research and forming my own opinion.

Therefore, I have actually started to deepen my knowledge of the Islam out of curiosity.

“My colleague Aboe Khoulani from the city council in The Hague has brought me further into contact with the as-Soennah mosque, which has guided me even further. There, I have been received very warmly and very positively.”

Asked if he now regretted joining the Freedom Party, he replied: “I have learned that every experience in life has a purpose. However, with the knowledge I have today, I would have undoubtedly made a different choice.”

In January Van Doorn was questioned by prosecutors about an article in the Hague edition of the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper based on confidential papers that he leaked to a journalist.

The leak was discovered during a wiretapped phone call while Van Doorn was being investigated over allegations that he sold soft drugs to children aged 14 and 15.

Van Doorn said the allegations were the result of a misunderstanding and that he had been involved in an undercover operation to unmask drug dealers in central The Hague. He admitted he had not properly considered the risks involved.

The articles concerned plans to sell the World Forum, an international conference centre in The Hague, which was discussed during a closed session of the council.

(updated March 11 2013 to include Van Doorn's interview with Al Jazeera)

Source: NRC: Omstreden ex-PVV’er bekeert zich tot islam