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Dutch Muslims laud Kuwaiti organisation for Dawa guidance for European

Leonardo,  a Dutch Muslim but with origins from El Salvador
Leonardo, a Dutch Muslim but with origins from El Salvador

Muslims Nawab Khan

(With photos) BRUSSELS, Jan 9 (KUNA) -- Dutch Muslim activists are all praise for the Islam Presentation Committee of Kuwait (IPC) for organising workshops and training courses to guide new European Muslims in organisational skills for Dawah (propagation) work.
Waleed Duisters, chairman of Dutch National Platform for New Muslims, was one of those Muslims from Europe who participated in the IPC courses held in Kuwait in December.
"It was a workshop for those Muslims who have a leading role in their countries, to give them information about organisational and leadership skills, in order to help Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe," Duisters told the Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, in an interview.
"This was my first visit to Kuwait. It was very good and useful because normally you get information about Islam but not about organisational skills. We also attended some good lectures by famous Kuwaiti scholars like Tariq Swuaidan," he added.
Duisters spoke to KUNA at the sidelines of the Fourth Dutch Muslim Converts' National Day held in the Dutch city of The Hague on Saturday.
The one-day event was organised by the OntdekIslam (Discover Islam) foundation and the Dutch National Platform for New Muslims.
He noted that 1600 participants came from Holland, Belgium and a few other European countries to attend the conference.
"The aim of the conference is to give a good idea about Islam to the new converts," said Duisters noting that the western media tries to portray the new converts as being very strict and extreme.
"We want to present the real picture that the converts to Islam are not extremists but Muslims just like other Muslims from other countries and that we are just as Dutch as before we converted to Islam," he said.
"Our message to the new converts in the Netherlands is to show that you can be a Muslim as a Dutch person because some right-wing Dutch politicians like Geert Wilders claim that you cannot be a Muslim and a Dutch person," he stated.
"If you look at the people here, they live as Muslims in a democratic country and they don't have any problems with that," added the Dutch Muslim activist.
Three Dutch girls converted to Islam during the Dutch Muslim Converts' National Day.
Duisters pointed out that figures released in 2007 showed there were between 12,000 and 14000 Dutch converts to Islam, but he thought the number is more than that as not all converts say that they have converted to Islam.
There are nearly one million Muslims in the Netherlands from Morocco, Turkey, Surinam and other countries. The population of the Netherlands is around 17 million.
Leonardo, a Dutch Muslim but with origins from El Salvador also attended to IPC course in Kuwait.
"We learnt another form of Dawa not the traditional way but the focus was on akhlaq (character), because the first thing people see in Europe is the behaviour of the Muslims," he told KUNA.
"We learnt how to improve our akhlaq abut also organisational skills to do so something for the community back home," said Leonardo who does social work with Muslim youth in Holland.
"The programme was very useful for me because the things they taught us and the material they gave us I never had seen something like that, I am trying to spread the message that I received in Kuwait with the other brothers who are doing volunteer social work," he said.
"It is important that IPC continues this programme because there are not many who give these kind of courses in Europe. They are doing a great job," he noted.
Leonardo said he converted to Islam three years ago after his interaction with Muslims in Holland and after reading books about Islam.
Jamal Nasser Al-Shatti General Manager of IPC, who had come from Kuwait to take part in the event said his organisation was supporting the Dutch Converts' National Day.
"This meeting is very good for the new Muslims to listen to speakers from Holland and other European countries", he told KUNA.
He said the IPVC recently held a one-week training course and workshop for new European Muslim converts in management and Dawa courses to "be good Muslims for their community, to be positive in their community and not to be negative," This was the second such course organized by the IPC in Kuwait, noted Al-Shatti.
The IPC is a committee affiliated to al-Najat benevolent society. (end) nk.asa KUNA 091046 Jan 11NNNN