Blair’s sister-in-law converts to Islam after Iran visit

Lauren Booth says had 'holy experience' at Qom shrine


Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former British prime minister Tony Blar, has converted to Islam after a 'holy experience' at a shrine in Iran.

Booth, a 43-year-old mother of two, is the half sister of Blair’s wife Cherie. She works for the English-language Iranian state news channel Press TV

She reportedly decided to adopt Islam as her new faith after what she describes as a religious awakening at the Fatima al-Masumeh Shrine in the Iranian holy city of Qom 6 weeks ago.

"I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy," she said to Britain's Daily Mail.

Booth, a journalist and former reality TV contestant, decided to convert immediately after her return to Britain. She has now stopped eating pork, reads the Quran daily, attends a mosque and wears a headscarf when she goes out. She has also not ruled out the possibility of wearing a burka in the future.

"I also haven’t had a drink in 45 days, the longest period in 25 years,’ she said. ‘The strange thing is that since I decided to convert I haven’t wanted to touch alcohol, and I was someone who craved a glass of wine or two at the end of a day."

She announced her conversion at the Global Peace and Unity Event in London on Saturday: "What I wanted to share with you today is that I am Lauren Booth and I am a Muslim,” she said as the crowd cheered.

"I always felt that the ummah (Muslim community) is a very loving, peaceful place and I am proud to be a member of it,” she said.

Booth has been a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq and a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause. She was given a Palestinian diplomatic status by Hamas supremo Ismail Haniyeh in 2008

On a visit to Gaza the same year, she compared the impoverished enclave to a "concentration camp" and a "humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur."

She has also criticized Tony Blair, accusing him of bias towards Israel. "Your world view is that Muslims, are mad, bad, dangerous to know. A contagion to be contained,” she said.

She said she hoped her conversion would have an impact on Blair helping him to change his presumptions about Islam.

Blair himself is a religious convert, he became a Roman Catholic after his term in office ended in 2007.