Berlin: Arthur Wagner, a member of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, who surprised observers by converting to Islam after working with Muslim immigrants, has once again brought the beauty of Islam to fore.
However, Arthur Wagner is not alone in this privileged club. There are many others who after realizing the true nature of Islam embraced it, and became its ambassador and staunch supporter.
There are instances in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when people will come to him and embrace Islam saying, “Up till now there was no person other than you and no religion other than Islam that we hated the most. But from now on, Islam alone is what we cherish the most and you are the one who is the most loved one in our life”.
The story of second Caliph Omar in itself is very interesting. Omar was on his way to kill Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when he learnt that his own sister and her husband had embraced Islam.
Shocked and furious, he changed his way and knocked at his sister’s home. They became fearful but soon gathered courage and succeeded in bringing Omar to conversation.
Half convinced Omar then asked them to read something from the Holy Quran. The transformation followed and Omar went straightaway to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and embraced Islam.
Likewise, in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, the United States experienced a spike in the number of Muslims in the country. While some of that was undoubtedly due to immigration, a significant portion came from Americans converting to Islam.
According to Asma Afsaruddin, a professor of Near Eastern languages and cultures at Indiana University Bloomington, many of those conversions were a direct result of Americans’ heightened interest in Islam in the wake of the terror attacks.
“Despite Islamophobia, thoughtful Americans who are curious about the real nature of Islam might go out of their way to discover the teachings of the religion from reliable sources,” Asfaruddin told PRI’s The World back in 2016, according to Vox Media.
“Once people do so, they often quickly realize that the violent, bloody interpretation of Islam promoted by groups like al-Qaeda (and later ISIS) — and portrayed in much of the media — is vastly different from what the texts and traditions of Islam actually teach, and represents the views of a tiny fraction of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims.
“As I’ve written and discussed elsewhere, this is also what happened to me. As a college student at the height of George W. Bush’s “war on terror,” I set out to learn more about the beliefs of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. And in the process, I came to a much deeper, more nuanced understanding of the religion and practice of Islam than what I had heard from terrorist propaganda and from the media. Eventually, I ended up converting”, she said.
[Arnoud van Doorn was a member of the city council in The Hague, and a leading figure in Geert Wilders' anti-Islamic Party for Freedom, responsible, among other things, for producing the film Fitna, converted to islam in 2013.]
Arthur Wagner’s case also reminded the interesting case of another German Arnoud van Doorn, a member of the Freedom party of the Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, who was asked to leave the party in 2013 when it emerged he had converted to Islam and travelled to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj - the pilgrimage to Makkah that all Muslims are expected to perform at least once in their lives.
Until his conversion, Arnoud van Doorn was a member of the city council in The Hague, and a leading figure in Geert Wilders' anti-Islamic Party for Freedom, responsible, among other things, for producing the film Fitna, which argued that Islam, and Muslims generally, are violent, intolerant and bent on world-domination., according to The Guardian.
"According to some people I am a traitor," he told al-Jazeera after his conversion to Islam, "but according to most others I have actually made a very good decision."
About his conversion to Islam Arnoud van Doorn who was once regarded a “professional Islamophobe” said, “Very gradually. I started by reading the Qur'an and was then persuaded to visit a mosque, where I was surprised to find myself made welcome and ended up staying all day.”
"I had a warm feeling, and I was really a bit confused," he said.
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