Posted by Rafiq A. Tschannen
Friday 4 January 2013
Lauren Booth, broadcaster and journalist, is former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, who converted to Islam in 2010. Here below is her journey to Islam and the heart-warming reaction of her family in this translated version of a recent interview:
I thank Allah for giving me the chance to spend a month with the greatest Muslims alive in this Ummah today.
At the end of Ramadan, I went to a family home in Rafa one of the poorest refugee camps in the poorest areas, of the over populated city in the entire world. I had iftar with a family there who had about 16 mats, which were used at night to sleep on. In the middle of this tent area the mother places the meal if she has any for her children to eat.
This lady greeted me at the door and it was as if she was welcoming me to the Taj Mahal not a hellhole in the Gaza strip. ”Sallam alaykum!” she says with a smile that lights up the whole area. I asked her: “What is it like in Rafa at Ramadan with very little food?” She said: ‘Alhamdulillah!’ with such joy I couldn’t help but smile. And as I sat there on the floor of this home eating what little leaves that they had; a bit of hummus, a pita bread that was our Iftar.
I got angry … really angry! I thought what is this God That makes hungry people even hungrier? What is this God Who creates a fast for the poorest of the oppressed people in the world. So, I turned to this sister and I said: “With all due respect I want to ask you, why does your God starve you in Ramadan? Why do you fast in Ramadan…sister, just explain to me?” This lady who never owned a handbag, whose children didn’t have, never had shoes. Whose children I was sitting with didn’t have pen or paper to do any drawings, she said to me: “Sister we fast in Ramadan to remember the poor.” And a key went to my heart and unlocked it.
But of course Islam wasn’t for me that was for somebody else so I put the thought of how great Islam was to one side and said so what I like the Palestinian people but it has nothing to do with Islam.
Then last year in Ramadan again I went to Iran as a journalist and I visited a mosque there, it’s the Bibi Fatima Mosque and I made wadu because I knew how to do it and I put on a shadur and I made a simple prayer: Allah … and I used the word Allah. “Allah, don’t give me anything. I have everything. Thank you for this journey, but Allah, don’t forget the people of Palestine.” …