Last week, the Dutch politician and municipal leader, Arnoud Van Houn, visited the Two Sacred Mosques, performing the sacred rites of Umra (the Lesser Pilgrimage of the Ka’aba in Makkah) and ziyara (visitation of the Noble House of the Prophet in Madinah) during which he stopped in front of the tomb of the Noble Messenger and was heard pleading ‘Forgive me, Oh Prophet!’…
Several years before, Arnoud and the infamous Dutch politician Geert Wilders, working together with the Somali-American Ayaan Hirsi Ali, produced a film called Fitna (an Arabic word literally translated as ‘trial’, but implying evil and dangerous chaos), a film which paired Qur’anic verses about Allah putting fear into the hearts of the disbelievers with scenes of terrorism and bloodshed, as well as minarets and covered women on the streets of the Netherlands. The film was a provocation and an insult directed at the Muslim immigrants in Europe, who were and are seen as a ‘fifth column’ in Europe, perceived as a destabilizing wave of brown people who refused common modern European values of democracy and equality for separation and backward religious doctrine. While Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders remain unrepentantly anti-Islam, stating repeatedly that Islam as a doctrine means terrorism and oppression of women, a view echoed by the resurgent xenophobes of Europe, Arnoud has turned his back on his former antagonistic views towards Islam and Muslims after visiting a mosque and discovering peace in prayer to Allah, submitting himself to faith in God and His Messenger.
After meeting the Dutch Iranian Ehsan Jami and then visiting the As-Soenneh Mosque in Amsterdam, Arnoud decided to declare his Islam openly on February 27th this year, proclaiming via the social networking site Twitter the declaration of faith in Islam: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger and Apostle” -- Peace be upon him and his family and companions.
One is reminded of the story of Hind bint Utbah, a Companion of the Prophet who fought against the Prophet viciously, to the degree she paid another later-Companion, Wahshi, to cut out the liver of the Prophet’s uncle Hamza, so that she could bite it. Despite this, she later accepted Islam during the Conquest of Makkah, and became a fervent defender of the Prophet and the Message of Islam.
We should learn to forgive our enemies, as did the Noble Prophet. We are reminded in the Quran (Surah al-Mumtahana, 60:7) by Allah that:
It may be that Allah will bring about friendship between you and those whom you hold to be your enemies among them; and Allah is Powerful; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
LastProphet has attempted to reach Arnoud directly, as he is traveling through Riyadh and meeting Saudi officials and learning about their deradicalization projects. We hope to update this story with anecdotes directly from Arnoud on how he perceives the Prophet today, how he perceived the Prophet when he made the film Fitna, and what changed his mind.
Doorn has already spoken with the television channel al-Jazeera and we would like to quote from the interview, in which Doorn said that he regrets being a part of such an offensive film. “However, now it is a closed chapter and absolutely I don’t want to recall about it. The film that sparked widespread reactions was a totally wrong step on our part as it contains a lot of misleading and incorrect information that are nothing to with this noble divine religion and its Prophet (pbuh),” he said, adding, “I will use all my experience in producing an alternative film, which will speak about the true image of Islam and all aspects of the personality of the Prophet as well as his great qualities.”
Doorn has repented for his involvement in the blasphemous film. “It was unfortunate that I did not make any efforts to know what really Islam is and who is the Prophet before blindly believing in the misinformation campaign being unleashed by the anti-Islamic forces. When I came to realize that it was not Islam, I decided to study about the religion and that led to my conversion,” he said. “Now, I am really enjoying the beauty of Islam and am extremely delighted in Allah’s great blessing to guide me onto His path. It is an explicable experience for me,” he said, adding that his former colleagues in the Freedom Party are angry at his acceptance of Islam. “The party stands against Islam and its spreading in Europe. Some of them now consider me as a traitor.”