Arnoud Van Doorn, a former leader of an ultra-night, anti-Islam part in Holland, stunned the world recently, when he announced his conversion to Islam. To atone for the production of what he now considers a misinformation and negative propaganda packed film about Islam, he has announced he will produce a new film. One which he claims will show “the true face” of Islam. Muslims around the world welcome a brother, Arnoud Van Doorn, to the faith and will indeed feel that although his intention to encourage ties of religious harmony is commendable, no film or criticism of Islam will ever tarnish its image or damage its believers, if their faith is strong. The grace and good example that the Muslim populations of the world can display with their behaviour, is the best evidence of the worthiness of their religion. There is no cause for concern of lasting offence to the faith or its believers, from maliciously intended efforts, such as the hate speech filled film, Innocence of Muslims. Muslims are taught patience and forbearance by their faith, and Arnoud Van Doorn will soon find that atonement is unnecessary, even though his desire to promote the true face of the religion, as he has experienced it, is much appreciated.

The faithful throughout the world are in a state of insecurity, as no-holds-barred debate about faith becomes at once, the frontier of the freedom of speech and also as evidenced by recent events, the most inflammatory of provocations. Moderation and tolerance on both sides is required. In today’s world, there are no longer physical barriers to information, and a variety of opinions and criticism must be heard with grace. Responses to these must be in a manner consciously chosen, not adopted as a knee-jerk reaction. The best response and impression that can be hoped for in an intellectual conflict, is to keep the quality of the debate civil, regardless of the provocation. To poke fun at people of faith is unnecessary and cruel, and those who believe and those who do not, must learn to exist with mutual respect for each others’ contradicting views. Arnoud Van Doorn is in a unique position to build bridges between Muslims and the Western world. His efforts to do so will be encouraged and welcomed by both sides no doubt.