Dutch Woman Embraces Islam ‘Live’


By Nasreddine Djebbi, IOL Correspondent 

http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-10/09/article08.shtml

THE HAGUE , October 9, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – A
Dutch woman has reverted to Islam in a live interview
on a Muslim-oriented radio in the Netherlands . 

Meranda Houtenbos asked the presenter on Nio radio to
make public her reversion with the start of the holy
fasting month of Ramadan in the northwestern European
country. 

The 26-year-old woman was invited to the program to
opine on Islam and Muslims in view of spreading
stereotypes fueled by media and the rightists. 

Raised Catholic, Houtenbos said she started reading
about the Muslim faith after it had come under the
spotlight in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. 

“I preferred reading to giving my ear to media,” she
said. “My Muslim friends have made the task easier for
me and gave me books written by trustworthy scholars.”


“It was also thanks to a mosque nearby, whose imam has
answered many of my questions.”   

Radio Nio took to the airwaves on September 4 as a
special service for Dutch Muslims. It is aimed at
removing wrong notions on Muslims. 

Muslims in Holland —estimated at one million out of
the country's 16 million—have established over the
past 30 years hundreds of religious, social, and
cultural organizations, many of which receive grants
from the Dutch authorities. 

No Compulsion 

Houtenbos said she embraced Islam out of her own
volition. 

“Every person is entitled to choose his/her religion
and I have singled out Islam,” she said in an
impromptu interview. 

She touched on clashes with her family over the new
religion and how they tried hard to convince her to
backtrack on her decision. 

“Of course I feel alienated from my family, and my
parents refused to cope with this new reality.” 

Rami Sukraman, the imam who was present during the
interview, said more Dutch people are reverting to
Islam from all walks of life. 

“Scientists, doctors, students and teachers have
embraced Islam recently,” he told IslamOnline.net
Sunday, October 9. 

“At least one Dutch reverts to Islam monthly in my
mosque,” he added. 

Sukrman called on the new reverts to take difficulties
into their strides and maintain close ties with their
families no matter how harsh they treated them. 

Rafik Ahmad Vris, who reverted to Islam in 1960s, said
his parents had thought of embracing Islam at that
time when they saw themselves how his behavior and
life have changed for the better. 

“But it’s not that easy nowadays since we see an
avalanche of media outlets which tarnish the image of
Islam and help spread Islamophobia,” he said. 

Dutch Muslims have been experiencing hard times since
the killing of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh at the hands of
a Dutch-Moroccan. 

Arsons on mosques and verbal assaults drove Europe ’s
main rights and democracy watchdog, the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to
express concern in August at the increasing Dutch
intolerance towards Muslims and the “climate of fear”
under which the minority was living. 





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