After Blair's conversion to Catholicism, his sister in law says: I'm a Muslim
By David Wilkes
Last updated at 10:11 PM on 24th October 2010
Conversion: Lauren booth chose to become a Muslim after a holy experience at a shrine in Iran
It could certainly make family get-togethers interesting.
Tony Blair’s sister-in-law Lauren Booth has converted to Islam.
The former prime minister is also a religious convert – he became a Roman Catholic after leaving office in 2007.
Miss Booth, who is Cherie Blair’s half sister, decided to adopt her new faith after what she described as a holy experience in Iran.
She now covers her head with a hijab when she leaves home, has given up alcohol and visits a mosque ‘when she can’.
The 43-year-old mother of two, who has long sympathised with the Muslim cause, described how she had a religious awakening six weeks ago on a visit to a shrine in the Iranian holy city of Qom.
‘I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy,’ she said. The former reality TV contestant decided to convert immediately on her return to Britain.
‘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.
Miss Booth, also a journalist and human rights campaigner, has stopped eating pork, reads the Koran every day and has not ruled out 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.’
Miss Booth works for Press TV, the English-language Iranian news channel, and has worn a head scarf on screen.
She announced her conversion at the Global Peace and Unity Event in London on Saturday. To cheers, she said: ‘What I wanted to share with you today is that I am Lauren Booth and I am a Muslim.’
Critical: Miss Booth was a vocal opponent of the Iraq war and recently attacked Tony Blair accusing him of a bias towards Israel
Miss Booth’s conversion follows a turbulent time in her personal life, during which her marriage to actor Craig Darby hit the rocks. She described publicly how she had fallen on hard times and was being forced to return to Britain after six years in rural France with her family.
Miss Booth was a vocal opponent of the Iraq war and recently criticised Mr Blair, accusing him of bias towards Israel.
She said: ‘Your world view is that Muslims, are mad, bad, dangerous to know. A contagion to be contained.’
Her conversion was welcomed on Muslim internet forums. One post read: ‘Now a war criminal has an innocent sister in law! God bless her!’
But not all the comments were so favourable. Another read: ‘Lauren Booth craves attention, that’s all.’