By Nasreddine Djebbi, IOL Correspondent THE HAGUE , 9 October 2005
Meranda Houtenbos, a Dutch, asked the presenter on Nio radio (a Muslim-oriented radion in Netherlands) 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. 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. There is no Compulsion. I embraced Islam out of my own volition. ," she said.
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."
Did you know:
- Radio Nio took to the airwaves on September 4 as a special service for Dutch Muslims.
- It was estimated that one million out of 16 million Dutch are Muslim.
- Dutch Muslims have established over the past 30 years.
- Today, at least one Dutch reverts to Islam monthly.