THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A former Dutch lawmaker who had been fiercely critical of Islam has become a Muslim.
Joram van Klaveren was a lawmaker in the Party of Freedom, led by Dutch anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders, from 2010 to 2014. He made headlines and raised eyebrows in the Netherlands this week after announcing his religious conversion in interviews connected to a book he has written titled "Afvallige," the Dutch word for Apostate.
Wilders was surprised, saying "it's like a vegetarian going to work in a slaughterhouse."
Van Klaveren could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
His publisher says his conversion came as Van Klaveren, who was brought up as a Protestant, was researching a book that was intended to be critical of Islam.
"With this book, we hope to contribute to getting rid of the many misconceptions about Islam and prevent polarization in our society," said Mohamed Ben Hammouch, chairman of the book's publishing house.
News of Van Klaveren's conversion comes a year after Arthur Wagner, a member of the hard-line Alternative for Germany party, declared he had converted to Islam. Wagner's party's official position is that the religion has no place in Germany.