Arnoud van Doorn was a member of Geert Wilders' anti-Islam party until the end of 2011 and, according to the Doğan News Agency, a personal friend of Wilders himself. The surprising announcement came via Van Doorn's Twitter account, when he released his Shahadah, or Testimony of Faith on the popular social networking site.
"I can understand that people are sceptical, especially since it is unexpected for many of them," Van Doorn said in an interview with Al Jazeera. "This is a very big decision, which I have not taken lightly."
In the same interview, Van Doorn indicates that it was his desire to learn more about Islam that led to his change of heart. "I have heard many stories about Islam, but I am not a person who follows opinions of other without doing my own research and forming my own opinion."
When asked about his previous decision to join the notoriously Wilders-dominated PVV, Van Doorn expresses a level of regret. "I have learned that every experience in life has a purpose. However, with the knowledge I have today, I would undoubtedly have made a different choice."