Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Monday 1 November 2010

Lauren Booth. Muslim

Lauren Booth the half-sister of Tony Blair's wife has recently converted to Islam after what she described as a 'holy experience' in Qum, Iran.
It may or may not have something to do with the fact that she is a reporter for the English news channel of the Iranian state broadcaster.

I am curious to know whether her experience was truly 'holy' or merely spiritual. There is a big difference. All men and women have a spiritual side and I dare say that many of us will admit to having some sort of experience in our lives. To become a holy experience I maintain that she must 'find' God.
Although I'm an atheist, I have had several spiritual experiences, most of which occur in cathedrals or other places of worship. I remember once, at a time of great personal crisis, visiting Winchester Cathedral in search of answers. When I arrived I noticed that the Lady Chapel was empty and went in and sat down. Almost immediately I was overwhelmed with distress. Deep sobbing lasted for several minutes. I suppose, I hoped someone would come and ask what was the matter so that I could unburden my soul on a complete stranger, but no one did. I suppose I stayed there for twenty or thirty minutes. Was this a holy or religious experience? No. Was it a spiritual experience? Certainly. An experience brought on by my being in an atmosphere and location, steeped in man's spirituality. Everyday I feel a similar, but lesser, sense when I hear the aria, 'One fine day ...' from Madame Butterfly. I cannot help but cry; not because it's tragic, which it is, but because it's so beautiful. This is not God's work but man's.
Having a spiritual experience comes without strings; there isn't necessarily a commitment. With a 'holy' experience, I suggest there is, which is why they are better left to the likes of Jesus and Mohamed. Lauren Booth must be absolutely clear which it was, because the consequences are important.

She must given much thought to the impact this will have on her family? The change of routine that will demand time for worship, a transformation not only of diet but the obligatory fasting for the month of Ramadan. She has held pro-palestinian feelings for some time, even taking part in a sanction-busting convoy to Gaza. She will know that as a woman she will have to worship without the company of men and observe other, culturally alien practices.

Having been enlightened by her embrace with Islam,  she must realise that there is now no turning back? To renounce Islam would now be seen as turning her back on Allah. Not only will this apostasy be seen as an affront to Allah it is considered an offence punishable by death.

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