Amsterdam: Joram Jaron Van Klaveren is a Dutch politician. He was a Member of Parliament from 2010 to 2014, belonging to the right wing Party for Freedom. Simultaneously, he was also a member of the States-Provincial of Flevoland. He was famous for anti-Muslim comments and wanted to ban Islam from Netherlands. He started writing a book against Islam and it so happened that he embraced Islam in October 2018.
Dr. Sabeel Ahmed, on his YouTube channel ‘4-Star Chicagoan’, interviewed Jaron to know what made him to convert to Islam in spite of hating Islam so much, that he wanted to ban it from Netherlands.
Three reasons that made him to hate Islam
Joram stated there three reasons that made him to hate Islam.
First, he was brought up in a conservative Protestant environment but his parents did not teach him to hate Islam. Although, he was influenced by the teachings of the Church and the anti-Islamic books that he read.
The second reason is because of the clashes between Islam–the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) and Europe. He said, a lot of people in Europe hated Islam because Turkey, an Islamic country, had colonized the Eastern part of Europe.
The third reason he said was of course the terrorism that took place in Europe for more than 10-12 years. A famous film maker was slaughtered in the street which was very near to his home. So the combination of these factors made him anti-Islamic.
Why did Joram joined politics
He further added that he was very much convinced of the fact that Islam was the biggest threat to world peace. So, after finishing university education, he joined the most anti-Islamic party in the Netherlands—Party for Freedom
He served the party from 2005 to 2014. He was also a member of the City Council for another political party, a right-wing party as well. Later, he realised that this party is not as much anti-Islam as he wanted. Therefore, he left it. But he remained as a Member of Parliament of Party of Freedom for almost eight years.
Joram disclosed that he joined politics because he wanted to change the law of the Netherlands in a quickest and strongest possible way.
He wanted to forbid the Islamic schools, tried to ban the Qur’an in Netherlands, immigration of people from Islamic countries and everything he could do prohibit Islam.
What he did in the Netherlands parliament
Joram asserted that he tried his best to impose ban on building minarets, mosques and Islamic schools. There was discussion on this issue in the parliament for almost one year.
The Prime Minister declared that the Netherland’s constitution allows freedom of religion. Therefore, they could not change anything
Joram further added that one unfortunate thing happened. There used to be the Bible, the Qur’an and Torah in the parliament near to the seat of Chairman. But his party demanded to remove the Qur’an from the parliament because of its ideologies. Therefore, it was removed. Another secular party demanded to remove the Bible too. So, all the religious books from the parliament were removed. He now regrets on this incident.
When asked how his party called a secular party when they did not give liberty to the people?
Joram replied this question was asked a lot, but his party always gave the answer ‘true freedom is world without Islam’.
What Joram did after leaving the party
He stated that his strive for freedom was never targeted at attaining freedom. Rather, it was targeted to ban Islam. Joram left the party in 2014 and started to write a book which was anti-Islam and he wanted everybody to understand why they have to be anti-Islam to be pro freedom. He wanted everybody to know why Islam is a threat.
Joram has a vast collection of books on Islam. While writing the book he referred to a book named “End Game” and it was written by a Dutch Professor who was also the member of the Freedom Party in the European Parliament. In the book, he wrote that Islam is like a cancer and you have to cut it away. The collection of books that he had contained some odd information. So, he said he had two versions of books on Islam and he got confused. For further knowledge and clarification, he communicated with several religious authorities.
Who influenced him most
One of the persons he communicated was Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad from Cambridge University. He cleared all his doubts and referred some books to him. Joram said, at this juncture he started noticing that his heart was changing and so were his views about Islam. He said, Abdal Hakim Murad was also a converted Muslim. He is a British guy and is a professor at Cambridge University. He teaches Arabic and Islam at Cambridge, but he converted back in 70s.
Doubts about his own religion
Joram further added that he already had some doubts about Christian faith, when he was 16-17 years old. There were few questions which were very harsh. Like the trinity of Christ, God and the Holy Spirit, and the sacrifice of Christ [in Christian faith god sacrificed his only son Jesus to forgive the sins of others]. He said that he found it very strange because in the old testament, part one of the Bible, there is a passage that says nobody dies or will die for the sins of another. In Catholic Church, they say everybody goes to hell if they don’t accept the Christ as their savior. But, I think that is a little bit strange because people like Noah, Abraham, or Adam they did not know Christ because there was no Christ at that time.
He further added, when he started writing his book those questions popped again, and he saw the theology of Islam as being more logical; that there is one god, no sacrifice [for the sins of others], people are responsible for their own behavior and their own sins.
Comparative study on Islam and Christianity
while writing the anti-Islamic book, he had to made a comparative study on Islam and Christianity and he found Islam to be logical.
He started reading about the life of Prophet Muhammed (mpbuh) because in Europe, they have a negative image of Prophet Muhammad. They say Islam is the religion of false prophet, Islam is like a moon religion and they worship the moon. Jaron said, this is the knowledge from the middle ages and it still exists in the minds of Europeans. Joram read the biography of Prophet Muhammad and all his misconceptions about him were vanished from his mind.
The incident that changed Joram’s opinion about the Prophet
The incident which changed Joram’s opinion about Prophet Muhammad was of Hind and Prophet’s uncle hazrat Hamza’s martyrdom. It so happened that Hind hired a slave and bribed him to kill hazrat Hamza. The slave killed hazrat Hamza and his body was mutilated. The prophet was very sad he was crying and a few years later he was in power and he met her again.
While reading this incident in the book, Joram was suspecting that Prophet Muhammad would order to cut off Hind’s head as a revenge. But it did not happen, Prophet Muhammad (mpbuh) forgave her instead and she embraced Islam. Joram was astonished at the Prophet’s gesture and acclaimed his act. Joram asserted that at The very moment he decided that this person could not be evil; he forgave someone who did evil to his uncle.
Christian, Jewish and Islamic laws
He further added that in Christian and Jewish laws, at the time of war, the entire village was ordered to be wiped off. The trees were to be cut down, animals and babies would be killed. He compared this law with Islamic law and said Islam does not allow to cut down trees or kill children. Islam prohibits to fight with someone who does not want to fight. The world is so much more human in Islam, he said.
The interviewer, Sabeel quoted chapter 15, verse number three from the Bible, where the God instructs one of the leaders of the military to go to the Anecolites and attack the Anecolites — totally destroy them, the men and the women, the children the infants, the camels, donkeys and other animals. Whereas, in chapter 5 of the Qur’an, verse 32, the Qur’an says that taking the life of an innocent person is like taking the life of all of humanity. When Muhammad peace be upon him, had to face so many defensive battles, he actually ordered the people, the soldiers his companions that even in a war, women and children must not be killed. Joram affirmed this verse of the Qur’an.
Dialogue between mother and son
when Joram told his mother about his inclination towards Islam she said that he could be a Muslim in silence and he need not tell that to other people. He replied that it would not be practical and he told her, she goes to church because she is a Christian and wants to hear the sermon at the Church.
Therefore, Joram decided that he would become a Muslim and let people know why he was anti-Islam and why he became a Muslim.
Joram embraced Islam and says “I was very much at peace at the moment when it happened…I was very happy.”
Joram turned the anti-Islamic book that he was writing into an Islamic book called “Apostate” which is available on Amazon and has been translated into many languages.
His mother cried and did not like his conversion to Islam. But she said that he was still his son. She did not like Islam but she was not as anti-Islam as Joram used to be.
Joram further added that a year later, his mother told him that he is sweeter as a Muslim than as a Christian. She also told him that his behaviour has changed in a positive way.
Joram wants to convey the message that knowledge is most important. If someone wants to talk about any topic, he must know what he is talking about and get his facts straight first. He advises non-Muslims not to believe to the people who are anti-Islam. Rather, they must search the truth which is very important in Islam.
Joram’s advice for the people who are anti-Islam is to verify their knowledge that they already have, with a knowledgeable Muslim, who has authentic knowledge of Islam.
He quotes the following hadeeth of the prophet (mpbuh):
Yassiru wa la tu’assiru wa bashhiru wa la tunaffiru.
(Spread the message in a good way and don’t scare people away from Islam).
He further added that there are some Muslims who themselves do not have authentic knowledge of Islam. He emphasizes that a Muslim should have correct knowledge of Islam which is a very big responsibility for Muslims. A Muslim is like a card of the religion. People look at a Muslim as an example and of course the best example that we all have is Prophet Muhammad may peace be upon him–he was the Quran.
Joram is now busy in propagating Islam in schools and prisons. His team’s next big project is to show people, especially youngsters, the history of Islam through a VR experience [Virtual Reality is a simulated experience. Applications of virtual reality can include educational purposes].