Mosques see more young converts and people interested in Islam 15:09 in the Netherlands Reports regularly appear that Dutch celebrities are interested in Islam. At the same time, several mosques are seeing a growing interest in the faith.

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  • Sumeyye Ersoy

    editor NOS Stories

  • Sumeyye Ersoy

    editor NOS Stories

Mosques in the Netherlands are seeing an increase in the number of young people converting to Islam. Several umbrella organizations and foundations tell NOS Stories that this happens to them.

“Before corona, an average of one to two people converted per mosque per month. Now this happens weekly and even more often in the larger cities,” says Kenan Aslan of the mosque umbrella organization Islamic Community Milli Görüş. Forty mosques across the country are affiliated with that organization.

“We also see that interest has increased in our convert branch Islam Color,” said Aslan. “We often receive questions there out of curiosity and registrations for lectures in Dutch.”

Famous converts

At the same time, messages appear regularly online about famous Dutch people who are interested in Islam or are becoming Muslims. FunX DJ Vonneke Bonneke recently converted. Reality star Jørney Hendrix, footballer Davy van den Berg and music artist Blacka preceded her.

The mosques that NOS Stories spoke to say that the religion seems especially attractive to young people. Lara (21) is one of them. “In Islam I have found peace, love, structure and self-reflection,” she says.

Lara came into contact with Islam through friends. “I came over there and we sometimes talked about it. We discussed what we actually live for, something I never thought about before.”

This is often the case, says anthropologist Vanessa Vroon-Najem. “Because there are more Muslims living in the Netherlands today, there is a greater chance that young people will come into contact with them. Think of a loved one or classmate. Prejudices about Islam can therefore be nuanced, because you can ask questions. Are you also working on some meaning? means to you, then Islam can become an option to explore.”

I wanted to start a new chapter and leave the past behind me.

Music artist Blacka

Things were different for Cheneydo Zunder, better known as Blacka. He came into trouble with the law a number of times and ended up in prison for possession of weapons.

“That period had a lot of impact on me, but mainly in a positive way,” he says now. “I had a lot of time for myself, wanted to start a new chapter and leave the past behind me. That went together with conversations I had with detainees about Islam. It only made me want to discover more.”


What was decisive for Lara was the Koran. “The book was revealed 1,400 years ago at a time of limited resources and has never been updated. I believe it contains many miracles that are being demonstrated today by modern science.”

Faith also gives her a sense of protection. “What is and is not good for you and for what reason. Think of your health, the use of alcohol, for example. It is very clear to me why those guidelines exist.”

For Blacka, it was also a verse from the Muslim holy book that had an impact on him. “I find it complicated to put into words. It immediately touched me, it made me emotional and at the same time extremely calming. That didn’t immediately convert me, but it certainly influenced my final choice.”

Discussion about Islam in politics and society has not deterred Black and Lara from their choice. Anthropologist Vroon-Najem thinks that negative attention to Islam can also arouse curiosity. “In any case, you are aware that Islam is there. This can make you wonder: is the picture that is being painted correct?”

Warm welcome

“Islamic communities are often inviting to people who show interest,” says Islamologist Yvonne Moonen. “That makes taking a step in that direction easier for non-Muslims.”

That is recognizable for Lara. “I was welcomed very warmly by a mosque I went to. That gave me such a good feeling that I still go there today,” she says.

This concerns Centrum de Middenweg, a mosque in Rotterdam where several converts come. Co-founder Jacob van der Blom therefore makes an addition. “Everyone is welcome in a mosque. But people should also feel comfortable.”

“Many mosques are designed based on ethnic background. This can lead to people with the same background going there. There is nothing wrong with that, but visiting such a place of worship can increase the threshold for others,” he says. .

For Lara and Blacka, conversion was the best choice of their lives, they say. “I want to feel what I feel about Islam forever,” Blacka said. And Lara says firmly: “I couldn’t have made a better choice and I never will be able to make it again.”

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