Tony Blair’s sister-in-law converts to Islam…Subahanallah !
Ashis Ray, TNN, Oct 25, 2010, 12.23am IST
LONDON: Former British prime minister Tony Blair’s sister-in-law Lauren Booth revealed over the weekend that she has converted to Islam. Booth, who is half-sister to Cherie Blair and a Catholic by birth, switched faith after a recent visit to Iran. A human rights campaigner and journalist, she works for Press TV, Iran’s 24-hour English language international news channel.
News of Booth’s conversion surfaced after she was showcased at a rally here under the banner of Global Peace and Unity 2010, attended by several Islamic hardliners. It was a propaganda coup for those who militantly propagate Islam.
Booth (43), who has once figured in a reality television contest, told a section of British media, “I had a delightful experience at a Muslim shrine in Iran six weeks ago. I now pray five times a day and occasionally go to a mosque. And I haven’t had an alcoholic drink for 45 days.”
Booth now covers her head and neck with hijab when outside her home (and doesn’t rule out wearing a burqa in future), no longer eats pork and reads the Quran every day. She conceded that her decision to convert might create a controversy. “Every action sparks a reaction,” she said.
Cherie Blair, a practising Catholic, and her husband Tony, who converted from the Church of England to Roman Catholicism in 2007, were unavailable for comment.
Last month, Booth accused Blair of lacking impartiality in his current role as Middle East envoy. Having earlier protested against Britain’s involvement in the 2003 United Stated-led invasion of Iraq, she said her brother-in-law could not be a balanced negotiator between Palestinians and Israelis because he was prejudiced against Muslims.
In a letter published in the Morning Star, a communist daily, she described participating in a rally in Iran where mothers reportedly wept over deaths in Palestinian cities like Rafah and Nablus. “Do you recognise these place names, Tony?” she asked. “ Israel has massacred children in all these cities in recent years,” she reminded him.