Van Klaveren Converted — Should We Be Disconcerted?

by Hugh Fitzgerald

The news several weeks ago that Joram van Klaveren, once a right-hand man to Geert Wilders in the Dutch Freedom Party, has converted to Islam, has disconcerted many. For he is the third person in the last few years to go from being a member of an anti-Islam party to converting to Islam.

Van Klaveren not only converted to Islam after years of anti-Islam political activity, but did so, he claims, in the middle of researching a book he was writing about, and originally against, Islam, when he began to realize that the faith he had long despised was in fact so attractive that he felt irresistibly drawn to it. Naturally, Muslims are rejoicing in this high-profile convert — what an example to hold up to the world, confirming the innate superiority and sheer wonderfulness of Islam, such that even its severest critics, once they look into it, are ineluctably drawn to it. The crowing can be heard from the Doha offices of Al Jazeera to the London offices of Al Arabiya. Van Klaveren can now go on the speaking circuit, for fat fees in the Gulf, where he will thrill waddling emirs in their dishdashas with thrilling tales of how he, the islamocritic, could no longer deny Islam’s Beauty and Truth.

This conversion comes close on the heels of two other conversions to Islam by those who were once  critical of it. The first was Arnoud van Doorn. Van Doorn is a bizarre figure. Once part of Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, the party broke with Van Doorn in December 2011, over charges of financial irregularities. In April 2012, Van Doorn announced his conversion to Islam. He expressed regret that he had been involved in making Wilders’ short film Fitna. Van Doorn is now head of the European Da’wa Foundation. He has thus become not just a Muslim, but one entirely committed, as his occupation, to promoting the faith. He has been accused of antisemitic remarks, including one about a Jewish Canadian who paid a ransom to free Yazidi and Christian hostages, and about whom he tweeted “To sell at a profit?” Called out on it, Van Doorn claimed he had only been joking. Van Doorn has also described the failed coup in Turkey as the work of “Zionists.” On May 4, National Memorial Day in the Netherlands, when the more than 100,000 Dutch Jews murdered in the Holocaust were remembered, Van Doorn said that Palestinians were equal to the victims of the Holocaust. He has also tweeted “May Allah exterminate the Zionists.”

Interviewed for a Muslim publication, Van Doorn explained how his conversion came about:

I have studied the Quran based on curiosity, starting about a year ago (after I left the PVV). Before that I’ve only heard negative stories about Islam. The more I was reading (also Sunnah, Hadith, etc.) the more I was convinced that the Islam is actually a beautiful and wise religion. I have had a religious education as a Christian, so I shared already a lot of values. It is easier to convert from a Christian to Islam then from a “non believer” because I was known [sic –”familiar”] with the prophets, the angels, and the  discipline that is necessary within any religion.

You can find fanatics in any religion, all over the world. Unfortunately the 1% fanatics are showed on tv and other news media, and their influence is magnified. 99% of the Muslims is [sic]hardworking and  peaceable. If more people will study the true Islam, the more people will see the beauty of it.

As I said before: study Islam, step over your prejudges [sic– for “prejudices”], and you will see that the [sic] Islam is actually a beautiful and very pure religion, with a great history and high standards. We take care for each other in prosperity and adversity. It gives inner peace and wisdom, and it deepens your spiritual live. Life is more than money and materialism (the typical “western success factor”). You will become a stronger and better person.

Willie Dille was a member of Wilders’ party and of the city council of the Hague who, before committing suicide last year, explained on a video what led to her decision. She said that on March 15, 2017, a group of Muslims had kidnapped, repeatedly raped, and abused her. When they were done, they asked her: “Do you respect Muhammad? Do you respect Allah?” She said on the video that they had been ordered to rape her by a former member of Wilders’ Party, one Arnoud van Doorn, who was Dille’s fellow member on the city council in The Hague, in order to frighten her into silence at meetings of the council.

Van Doorn’s violently anti-Israel remarks did not prevent him in 2018 from tweeting some easy taqiyya: a photograph of himself shaking hands with a naive and smiling rabbi, together with the soothing text  “Muslims and Jews together against hate and intolerance. Together against antisemitism and islamophobia.”

Then there is Arthur Wagner, another high-profile revert,who was a leading member of Alternative for Germany,  the anti-Islam party that has the Homeric epithet “right-wing” permanently affixed to it, and is known for its mantra that “Islam doesn’t belong in Germany.” This once senior member of the party in Brandenburg, where he sat on the AfD’s state legislative committee, a member of the state committee with responsibility for churches and religious communities, caused a sensation in early 2018 by converting to Islam.

He resigned his position on the party’s national executive committee on January 11, 2018 for what he called “personal reasons.” He remains a member of the party. “The party has no problem with that,” its spokesman Daniel Friese said, adding that the AfD represents the interests of Muslims, and also of Christians and homosexuals.

Wagner became an AfD member in 2015 after switching from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).

Wagner, who has changed his name to Ahmad, gave an interview to the newspaper Bild in which he explained that he had turned to Islam because he did not like his church’s acceptance of homosexual marriage. As he explained, “One of the reasons was the way the church has changed, which I don’t understand any more.” Wagner was previously a devout Christian and member of his local Protestant church.“It’s their attitudes to the AfD, to gay marriage,” he said. He also said he was unhappy that Protestant pastors had taken part in a gay rights parade in Berlin. “With children there! That’s just not right,” he said. In protest, he became a Muslim. An overreaction, surely, for he might simply have resigned from the Protestant Church, as his private protest, and left it at that. Or he might have found a group of Christian fundamentalists who were not accepting of homosexuality, but at least did not murder them. Instead, Wagner became a Muslim. For they know how to treat homosexuals — very badly — just the way Arthur Wagner thinks they should treated. In Gaza, they shoot them. In Iran, they hang homosexuals from cranes. In the Islamic State, the Jihadis had great fun throwing homosexuals from the roofs of tall buildings. It’s fun for the whole family. Enjoy the ghoulish show. Every single one of the  countries where homosexuality is punishable by death are Muslim: Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria (in the northern, Muslim states), Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Somalia. This is what Arthur Wagner embraced because he didn’t like Protestant pastors taking part in a gay pride march. I would call that reaction unhinged.

No doubt Muslims, and not only in Germany, were delighted with the news of Wagner’s conversion. In trumpeting news oft this revert, they perhaps skimmed over his declared reason for becoming a Muslim — as a way to protest tolerance, by embracing the most homophobic of faiths. For why should the Muslim media not tell the Muslim world that it was the light of Islam — its truth, its beauty — that had shown so bright that even someone like Arthur Wagner, from deep in the darkness of his islamophobia, could overcome the dismal company he had kept at the AfD and, a heartening example, revert to being a Muslim himself?

Might there be more to these curious cases of reverts than simply one of weak-minded Infidels  being persuaded that Islam was the one true faith?

There are several possible reasons why these three — the German Arthur Wagner, and the two Dutchmen Arnaud van Doorn and Joram van Klaveren — decided to convert to Islam after having been well known as islamocritics. One is the reason Muslims favor: despite their “Islamophobic” backgrounds, these “reverters” had all been struck by the sheer wonderfulness of Islam once they had carefully looked into it. What was it that attracted them? That Islam provides a Complete Regulation of Life, which some lost souls find most appealing, a way to handle the chaos of modern life? That it so clearly separates every human activity into what is halal and what is haram? That in Islam, there is no need to think, but only to submit; thinking has already been done for the Believers and that they have a Community of Believers, members of the world-wide umma, ready to stand by them?

There are other conceivable explanations for these conversions. The Tagesspiegel reported that Wagner, who joined AfD shortly after it was founded in 2013, had in the past been active in a group assisting refugees. Could he have been persuaded by some fetching female “refugee” that Islam, because it shared Wagner’s deep dislike of homosexuality, was the faith for him?

It would not surprise you to discover that an attractive Muslimah, possibly a “refugee,” had set her net — or was pressed into service by Muslim males eager to “turn” some high-profile figures in the enemy camp  to Islam — to ensnare the likes of Arnoud van Doorn, or Arthur Wagner, or Joram van Klaveren. As a female refugee, she would not need much prodding to proceed, for she might see such encouragement of “reverters” — the more unlikely in background the better — as her contribution to the Jihad. And should she be responsible for one such reverter, he could help sponsor her, ensure that could remain in the Netherlands or Germany.

What a coup for Islam these three reverts appear to be. One can just imagine how often Muslims will be bringing up their examples as proof of islam’s irresistible greatness, which can, as Wagner said, “overcome even the worst sort of islamophobia.” Of course, we are never told how many Muslims have been converting to Christianity, since most such apostates, for safety, do not identify themselves. But anecdotal evidence suggests that especially in Iran (where Christianity is the fastest-growing religion), in the Kabyle region of Algeria (where the Berbers live, resentful of Muslim Arab domination), and among the Kurds, hundreds of thousands have been leaving Islam each year. And there are a great many converts to Christianity among Muslims in Europe who, for obvious reasons, don’t share news of their conversion with others. Why risk death?

A third possible explanation for these “reverters” is of the filthy-lucre sort. We know that for high-profile “Islamophobes” who turn Turk, that is “revert” to Islam, there is money to be made. Think of all the speaking engagements now available to Joram van Klaveren, Arnoud van Doorn, and Arthur Wagner, throughout the deepest-pocketed Muslim lands — in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar — or even to audiences of Muslims throughout Europe. The talk each could give would be on the subject  that every devout Muslim most wants to hear from an Unbeliever: “Why I Became A Muslim.” That triumphalist topic ought to be worth a great deal per speech. And these reverts might even be sponsored directly by rich Arabs, to go on speaking tours in Europe, addressing audiences of non-Muslims on “How I Saw The Light Of Islam.” And why shouldn’t they testify to the greatness of Islam? How dare anyone question their motives? Why shouldn’t they make some money from their embrace of the Faith? Are they any worse than so many of our past presidents, secretaries of state, national security advisors, big shots of every sort, who once out of office head out to the Gulf (Persian, Arabian, take your pick) to pocket most generous honoraria? These reverts have a story to proudly tell. Why shouldn’t they at the same time be able to earn from their telling their daily  bread?

Eventually we’ll find out what different considerations led these men to the One True Faith. Arthur Wagner says it was his way to register his anger at the support  for homosexual marriage. Arnoud van Doorn became a Muslim in April 2012, a few months after being asked to leave Geert Wilders’ PVV  party for unspecified — possibly financial — reasons. Announcing his conversion,  he expressed his regret for having  been responsible for the distribution of the anti-Islam movie Fitna: “Right now I am still feeling regret for having distributed the film. I have a responsibility to correct the mistakes that I’ve done in the past.” He claimed that the violent reaction of Muslims around the world against the film made him interested to learn more about Islam, which led to his conversion. But what could he possibly have learned that he did not know before? That Muslims can become dangerously violent if they believe they or their faith are being attacked? What kind of person is impressed, rather than horrified, by such a reaction? Are we right to suspect that Van Doorn’ conversion was nothing more than  a smart career move by a thoroughly amoral fellow?

Van Doorn has had various troubles with the law; he has been convicted of providing secret documents to the press, possession of an illegal flare gun, and selling soft drugs to minors. He was accused by a fellow member of the Hague city council of sending a group of Muslims to gang-rape her — a charge that she made in a video before committing suicide. Yet here he is, now earning a solid living as President of the European Da’wah Foundation, and Ambassador of Celebrity Relations for the Canadian Da’wah Association in Europe. For several years, he was a Member of the Board and Official Representative for the PvdE, a Muslim political party, in the city council of The Hague. He has made the Hajj to Mecca, where he was warmly welcomed by his Saudi hosts. Could they have given him a more telling token of their affection and esteem? Had he not reverted, none of that would have been possible. It would be fascinating to  know how Arnoud van Doorn is doing now, financially, as a revert to Islam, as compared to how he was doing before he saw the light.

The latest revert to make a  splash is Joram van Klaveren, like van Doorn a member of the PVV Party who was close to Wilders himself. His story is  the most dramatic, for he had in the past campaigned ad nauseam in the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament against Islam in the Netherlands, calling it “a lie,” and referring to the Quran as “poison.” He had also pushed for a ban on the burqa and on mosque minarets. At the time of his conversion, which took place in October 2018, but was not made public until this February, he had been researching a new book, From Christianity to Islam in the Time of Terror, when he had his remarkable change of heart. “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,” van Klaveren told a local radio station after his conversion. That’s a misstatement of the faith: Muslims believe Muhammad was not just “one of the prophets,” but the last  of the prophets, the Seal of the Prophets. And that’s not the only belief required of a Muslim. As van Klaveren well knows, Muslims are commanded to wage Jihad against Unbelievers, until Islam everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere. Is it possible that after years of opposing Islam, and seeing so little being accomplished in Europe, where May and Macron and Merkel seem incapable of grasping the mortal threat of Islam, where every month ever more Muslims arrive in Europe, where they cause mayhem, and yet even the Pope has endorsed “authentic Islam” as having “no room for violence.” and continues to defend that faith on every conceivable occasion, that van Klaveren simply had become sufficiently disheartened, after so many years of opposing Islam, that he gave up, and rather than strengthening his resolve, despairingly threw in his lot with what could certainly appear to be the winning side?

And what should be the reaction to these three reverts? Muslims, of course, feel a sense of triumphalism. Does that mean we should feel a sense of despair? Of course not. These reverts to Islam do not represent an unstoppable wave, but are very much sui generis. Arthur Wagner is certainly a bizarre creature, choosing to become a Muslim only in order to express his disapproval of his Protestant church’s acceptance of homosexual marriage. Arnoud van Doorn is another doubtful character, has been involved in several criminal activities, including selling drugs to the young. And he has been accused of sending a group of Muslims to gang-rape one of his political opponents. Not exactly a sterling example of rectitude. And who knows what material benefits have come to this high-profile revert as President of the European Da’wah Foundation, and Ambassador of Celebrity Relations for the Canadian Da’wah Association in Europe? And what does he derive from his travels to the Gulf, where  Muslim Arabs might have shown their appreciation in tangible ways?

As for Joram van Klaveren, I suspect that, as stated above, it was not the truth and beauty of Islam, as Muslims allow themselves to believe, that finally led him to turn Turk and embrace the faith, but rather, to repeat, his own mental exhaustion and despair over Islam’s steady expansion in Europe, and the failure of so many of Europe’s leaders to recognize the meaning, and menace, of Islam. Not for the first time, defeatism would have claimed its victim.

Meanwhile, let’s think of all the morally and intellectually advanced people, very different from these three curious “reverts,” who have converted the other way, to Christianity from Islam, or have left Islam for Unbelief. These include such figures as Magdi Allam, the brilliant writer and political figure who, born a Muslim in Egypt, in Italy converted to Christianity — with Pope Benedict himself presiding at his baptism — and since Oriana Fallaci’s death has been the most effective opponent  of Islam on the Italian scene. There is Ibn Warraq, who is both a profound scholar of early Islam and author of  Why I Am Not A Muslim. There is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who long ago abandoned Islam as a murderous cult, and whose autobiographical  works — Nomad, Infidel –have had an important effect in revealing for Unbelievers what the texts and tenets of Islam inculcate. There is Wafa  Sultan, the author of A God Who Hates, who considers herself  a “cultural Muslim” even though she does not believe in any part of the faith: “I even don’t believe in Islam, but I am a Muslim.” Imposing figures, every one, and all of them exceedingly brave because, as publicly-declared apostates from Islam, they are under a permanent  death threat. Those who revert to Islam, on the other hand, face no threats or harmful consequences.

There are other bizarre figures among the converts to Islam. There was French “philosopher” Roger Garaudy, an antisemite and Holocaust-denier who, unsurprisingly, found his spiritual home in Islam. There is Tony Blair’s sister-in-law. Lauren  Booth, who converted following an “inspiring experience” while visiting Iran. What was that was so inspiring? The women being picked up by the religious police if they weren’t correctly covered? The mass rallies where people screamed “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”? The public executions of homosexuals? Lauren Booth is also a great friend of the “Palestinians,” and has been since long before she converted to Islam. She described Gaza as “the largest concentration camp in the world,” but made the mistake of having photographs taken of her in a well-stocked Gazan grocery story. She’s been honored by Hamas with a VIP Passport.

On October 23, 2010, wearing a hijab, she made a video: “My name is Lauren Booth, and I am a Muslim.” She attributed her awakening to her experiences in Palestine as a reporter. She has given hundreds of speeches on her conversion, also attributing her conversion to her experiences with Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza. How much might she have earned from those hundreds of speeches?

We know she has a great interest in money, that has been known to get her into trouble. It seems that Lauren and her Muslim husband have been helping themselves to funds meant for others. In June 2011, Booth joined Cageprisoners as a patron. However, from 2015 Booth was no longer a patron of the organization. Apparently Lauren Booth and the chief executive of Peacetrail (another NGO), her husband Sohale Ahmed, were disqualified from holding any trustee positions after the Charity Commission could not account for about half  of Peacetrail’s income. It seems that Lauren Booth and her Muslim husband had a particular interest in helping only certain Muslims — namely, themselves.

Another high-profile female convert to Islam is Sinead O’Connor. She has changed her name twice: to Magda Davitt, and then to the more Muslim Shuhada Davitt. You can see her at YouTube, giving the Call to Prayer. She famously tweeted, after her conversion, that she found white people “disgusting”: “I’m terribly sorry,” her tweet said. “What I’m about to say is something so racist I never thought my soul could ever feel it. But truly I never wanna spend time with white people again (if that’s what non-muslims are called). Not for one moment, for any reason. They are disgusting.” Make of that bizarrerie what you wish.

On one side, we have such converts to Islam as Arthur Wagner, Arnoud van Doorn, Joram van Klaveren, Lauren Booth, and Shuhada Devitt. And then there are also many “reverts” among prisoners in the West who, in converting to Islam, become part of an instant  community of fellow Muslims, who provide security as the strongest prison gang. Furthermore, as  Muslims, these converts will now be subject to a Complete Regulation  of Life, which will replace their previous mental disarray.

On the other side, we have, among those who have abandoned Islam, such people as Magdi Allam, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Wafa Sultan. A most unequal contest.

The Camp of Islam gets the worst people from our world, and we get the best people from theirs. No contest. People are waking up and deserting the Camp of Islam. We are winning. Just keep up the good work, and don’t lose heart.

First published in Jihad Watch here, here and here.


2 Responses

  1. If he hates gays, couldn’t Arthur Wagner have simply joined the Westboro Baptist Church? They’re just his sort of wackos. On the other hand, Irish militants should convert to Islam, since they have so much in common with a violent cult that has never achieved anything constructive.

  2. If this article got any more biased you would have a stroke.
    Islam contrary to the popular belief, has NO condemnation for homosexuals, Islam does not murder homosexuals, you will not find a single word against homosexuals in the Qu’ran, you are lying, and making things up.
    It seems like it really bothers you that these guys have converted to Islam.
    Yes Van Doorn was seen with a Rabbi contrary to the media narrative, we have nothing against our Jewish brothers and sisters, on the contrary we are ordained to look after our Christian and Jewish brethren. And the whole of humanity at large, stop reinventing Islam, be consistent, hypocrisy and the relentless double standard will lead you nowhere.
    Watch this space, more and more people are waking up and converting to Islam, because it’s the truth that includes yours truly.

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