Lauren Booth – half-sister of Cherie Blair – is on a mission to smash stereotypes about Muslims.
A convert to Islam since 2010, Booth is taking her show Accidentally Muslim to the Edinburgh Fringe in August.
She wants to show the positive side of her faith.
“If you have tattoos and want to be accepted, fine, good luck to you.
“I want to wear hijab and to be accepted for me. I don’t want to change to be like you,” she says.
Her half-sister Cherie, a barrister and wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, is well-known for her Catholic faith.
Their father was actor Tony Booth, best known for his part in the BBC series Till Death Us Do Part in the 1960s and 1970s.
Taking on negative stereotypes
Lauren’s 45-minute set at the Fringe is designed to challenge some people’s views of Islam.
“You get trolled a lot on social media,” she says.
“I’ll get messages saying: ‘Go back to Saudi Arabia. If that’s what you want there must be something wrong with you’.
“So I wanted to share the happiness and the way of life that I’ve been blessed with.”
She goes on: “I don’t need to be the same as everybody else. Perhaps that’s where I’m slightly different to people that feel pressured to take off hijabs.
“Maybe they’ve got some post-colonial hangovers. Well obviously, I’m English, so I don’t have those hangovers – I’m free from that.”
Conversion in the Holy Land
Lauren converted to Islam in Gaza in 2008 after a visit to a poor community in the Rafah refugee camp. She was touched by their decision to fast for Ramadan despite their poverty and hunger.
She has since written a book about her experiences called Finding Peace in the Holy Land.
But Lauren is not about to reveal what her famous relatives think of her faith.
“Listen sweetie, I know everybody wants to know this but I tend to let the Blairs speak for themselves because I think that’s polite, so I don’t want to put words into her mouth really.
“What I will say is that Cherie is a person of faith and people of faith tend to respect others’ faith. She believes in God, I believe in God; if there’s one God it’s the same God,” she adds.
Lauren Booth: Accidentally Muslim is at the Gilded Balloon Teviot – Billiard Room, Edinburgh, from July 31 to August 14 and August 16 to 26.
To find out more about the Edinburgh Fringe read here.
For the full interview with Lauren Booth in the Mayfair Times, read here.