STRONG FAITH: Blair's sister-in-law feels a sense of peace
Social activist Lauren Booth says she was born to worship Allah
KUALA LUMPUR: LEARNING humility from the generosity of the Palestinians and the act of fasting have pulled Lauren Booth closer to Islam.
The sister-in-law of former British prime minister Tony Blair said she was attracted to the strength showed by the people of Palestine, despite their hardships.
"During my visit to a refugee camp (in Palestine), I was bringing food for the poor families (during Ramadan). I met this woman who has the most beautiful smile, lit from within from joy and hope.
"I was sure that her house is like the Taj Mahal, unlike some homes that have nothing. But, when I went in, she had nothing," she told more than 200 people who had gathered last night to listen to her talk on how she had discovered Islam.
Booth admitted she felt angry at Islam at first after seeing the woman's poverty.
"I asked her, why do you fast in Ramadan? You said your God loves you, but He makes you hungry. You said He loves you, but He makes you thirsty.
"The woman replied: 'Sister, I fast in Ramadan to remember the poor'.
The words stay with me because it was clear this woman who has nothing did not see herself as poor. At that moment, I told myself if this is Islam, I'm in," said the social activist.
Booth described her discovery of Islam had created the sense of peace in herself and with those around her.
"I know now why I was born, that is to worship Allah. Every act of worship brings rewards. Every pronunciation of bismillah and alhamdulillah creates a cotton wool of protection around us. When you come to Islam, you feel it every day."
Booth also shared how her two daughters, Alexandra Darby, 11 and Holly Darby, 9, had reacted when she first told them of her intention to embrace Islam.
The two girls, she said, had asked her three profound questions, namely whether she would still be their mother, and whether she would drink alcohol and dress the same way when she embraced Islam. Booth had told her daughters that she would become a better mother to them and would not touch alcohol, receiving the girls' approval.
The third question, however, had startled Lauren. "(They asked), when you are a Muslim, will you still show your chest in public?
"I said: 'Why did you ask me that?'
"Alex and Holly said: 'Because you are always showing this part (patting her chest) in public and we find it very embarrassing. Stop it'.
"After telling Alex and Holly that she would cover herself from head to toe, the two girls gave their consent and began to love the Islamic faith."