Mar 24, 2021
From Fanaticism to Faith
“At first, I had another publisher because my book was very anti-Islam, but during the writing I changed the subject for myself. I said ‘Well, it’s not going to be an anti-Islam book per se. It’s going to be a search for God.’” — Joram van Klaveren
“One of Zaytuna’s beliefs and one of my beliefs is that these natural tendencies that we have toward xenophobia, prejudice, and bias can be overcome through knowledge. These things can be overcome through a liberal education through which one frees oneself of some of those underdeveloped ideas and feelings.” — Ubaydullah Evans
In the Netherlands, the political climate was toxic with anti-Islam bigotry when Joram van Klaveren made a name for himself as a prominent and ambitious politician. He helped to lead the Party for Freedom, with its central platform hostile to Islam and Muslims in the Netherlands. When he set out to write a book that would ground his rhetoric against Islam, he would discover that he neither knew much about Islam nor was convinced of the basic tenets of Christianity, the religion he was fighting for. As Joram pored over books to inform his own, his intentions changed from a close-minded diatribe to a man in search of God and in search of meaning. His is a story of the dangers of fanaticism but also the courage to follow truth even when it is unpopular and life altering.
Joram Jaron van Klaveren is a former Dutch politician. As a member of the Party for Freedom he was an MP from 2010 to 2014 and then a member of the States-Provincial of Flevoland from 2011 to 2014. In October 2018, in the midst of writing an anti-Islam book, he became a Muslim and rededicated his book, which he would eventually title Apostate, to his search for God and subsequent conversion to Islam. He recently founded the Anthony Janszoon Association, which tries to restore the oft-incorrect image of Islam in the West.
Ubaydullah Evans is the scholar-in-residence of the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM) and an instructor with the Ta’leef Collective. He converted to Islam while in high school. Upon conversion, Ubaydullah began studying some of the foundational books of Islam under the private tutelage of local scholars while simultaneously pursuing a degree in journalism from Columbia. Since then, he has studied at Chicagoland’s Institute of Islamic Education (IIE), studied in Tarim, Yemen, and graduated from the Sharia program at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.