Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, has converted to Islam after a trip to Iran.
The 43-year-old broadcast journalist, who works for Iran’s English-language Press TV, said she had a “holy experience” while visiting the Fatima al-Masumeh shrine in the city of Qom, a “shot of spiritual morphine.”
Upon her return to Britain, she told British publication The Mail in an interview published Sunday that she decided to immediately convert to Islam.
“Now I don’t eat pork and I read the Koran every day. I’m on page 60,” she told the publication. “I also haven’t had a drink in 45 days, the longest period in 25 years.”
Booth added that she now wears the hijab (hair covering) when she leaves her home, prays five times a day and visits the local mosque “when I can.”
Booth spent several months in Gaza two years ago after traveling there illegally on a “Free Gaza” ship that symbolically broke Israel’s blockade of the region.
After Israel allowed the vessel to dock in Gaza port, Booth was unable to leave, since she had no visa or other legal transport papers with which to enter Israel from the region. Nor was she able to leave via the Rafiah Crossing, since the group had no legitimate exit visa, since Gaza is not a sovereign nation – nor a visa for entry into Egypt.
'Snickers' in a concentration camp?
Despite her claims of the “concentration camp” conditions in the region that are “worse than Darfur” Booth was photographed buying Snickers candy bars and soft drinks in a well-stocked food store in Gaza.
She and her brother-in-law, who currently serves as the Middle East envoy for the Quartet of peace-keeping nations (the U.S., Russia, European Union and United Nations), are reportedly barely on speaking terms.
Booth, who is a half-sister to Blair’s wife, Cherie, said she hopes her conversion to Islam will help change her brother-in-law’s presumptions about the Muslim faith.