Robin van Persie was born and raised in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

There is very little information on van Persie’s religious upbringing. We do know that his parents are Dutch sculptors,1 so does that mean it was a secular upbringing? The Netherlands is a highly secular country with only 39% of residents claiming an affiliation to any religion,2 so I’d be inclined to say so, but that would certainly be jumping to conclusions. Still, read on for more evidence.

van Persie married a Muslim woman,3 causing many to speculate that he had converted to Islam.45 So prevalent were the rumors that van Persie felt it necessary to speak about them. Calling Islam a “beautiful religion,” but nevertheless, not a convert, van Persie set the record straight:

That’s not true. I am not a Muslim nor a Christian, nor Jew. I have bred freely. If you want to be a Muslim, it must come from the heart… I believe in myself. I would not [convert to Islam] just to please my wife.6

This quote reveals much about van Persie’s religious views–while raising more questions. He’s clearly not an adherent of an organized religion, but does that mean he’s an agnostic? An atheist? Or does he have his own personal spirituality? Let us know in the comments if you know anything.

Much Ado About Nothing

van Persie appears to be largely non-political. The most quasi-political thing I’ve been able to find involves a British politician, Sir Alex Ferguson, calling for the captain of the Wales team, Ashley Williams, to be investigated and banned from playing after (allegedly) deliberately kicking a football at van Persie’s head. Sir Ferguson said:

In the Van Persie situation you can clearly see that he could have been killed… that was the most dangerous thing I’ve seen on a football field for many years.7

He does do his bit to make the world a better place, particularly by financially assisting poor families in third-world Africa.8

All that aside, van Persie is Dutch, and the Netherlands is easily one of the most liberal countries in history, with legal marijuana, prostitution and gay marriage.9 So it’s a good bet that even if van Persie is a moderate in his own country, he’s a liberal in the rest of the world.

  1. Robin van Persie Biography. Robin van Persie. []
  2. Netherlands. Wikipedia. []
  3. Alan Pardew says religion has played a big part in Newcastle’s success. Daily Mail. []
  4. Robin Van Persie (arsenal Football Player) Converts Too… Ummah. []
  5. Muslim Stars in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The Web of Fudge. []
  6. Van Persie: Islam It’s a Beautiful Religion. Global Issue. []
  7. Robin van Persie could have been killed, claims Sir Alex Ferguson. The Guardian. []
  8. Arsenal star Robin Van Persie reveals charity crusade that will change Africa forever. Mirror Football. []
  9. Netherlands. Wikipedia. []