By Mihaela Lica
She is not as known internationally as her brother-in-law Tony Blair, but Lauren Booth has definitely made the headlines today all over the world, after a more or less shocking public announcement that she converted to Islam. The news spread from UK to New York, Tehran, Jerusalem, India, and beyond.
Lauren Booth, a long time militant for the Muslim cause, decided to convert after a holy experience she had six weeks ago, after a visit to the Fatima al-Masumeh Shrine in Qom, Iran.
According to reports from the UK media, she felt a â€œshot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joyâ€ and decided to convert immediately on her return to Britain. Now you will most likely see the journalist who now works for Press TV, the English-language news channel of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in loose clothes, wearing a hijab. She declared her new-found faith live at the GPU event, saying: â€œMy name is Lauren Booth, and I am a Muslim.â€
Sure, the media is prone to react differently to such news. Some say that she is just craving for attention, while others see this as a logical consequence of her sympathies. Among others, she is a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, and as a journalist she presents In Focus on the UKâ€™s Islam Channel, and Between The Headlines on the Iranian-owned Press TV.
The media reports that since she converted she stopped drinking any kind of alcohol, she no longer eats pork, reads the Koran five times a day and visits a mosque when she can. Although she cannot tell for sure where this spiritual journey will take her, she hopes to change peopleâ€™s prejudice about Muslims:
â€œYour world view is that Muslims are mad, bad and dangerous; a contagion to be contained. â€œ â€“ she wrote in a letter to Tony Blair, asking him to acknowledge International Quds Day, an annual event on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims express solidarity with the Palestinian people and protest Israelâ€™s occupation of Beit-ul-Moqaddas (Jerusalem).