For years, conservative politician Joram van Klaveren, advocating alongside outspoken anti-Islam leader Geert Wilders and his PPV party, was known for his vocal criticism of Islam.
Klaveren campaigned ad nauseam in the Lower House against Islam in the Netherlands, calling it “a lie,” and referring to the Quran as “poison.” He also pushed for a ban of the burqa, and mosque minarets.
So his announcement this week that he has converted to Islam came as a shock to many of his former friends, colleagues, and political followers in the Netherlands.
“If you believe that there is one God and that Muhammad was one of the prophets, besides Jesus and Moses, then you are formally Muslim,” Klaveren told a local radio station this week, explaining his change of heart.
Around five percent of the 17 million Dutch population is Muslim, according to the Dutch Central Statistics. And despite the outspokenness of the likes of Wilders, the religion is reported to be gaining in popularity, and predicted to have doubled by the year 2050.
The prominent political figure, who grew up in an orthodox Protestant Christian environment, said he made the switch official in October last year. He said his change of heart came through the process of researching a new book entitled “From Christianity to Islam in the Time of Terror.”
He further described the change to Dutch papers as “a religious homecoming,” and one that his wife supports.