Tony Blair's sister-in-law converts to Islam

Broadcaster and journalist Lauren Booth, 43 - Cherie Blair's half-sister - said she now wears a hijab head covering whenever she leaves her home, prays five times a day and visits her local mosque "when I can".

She said she hoped her conversion would help Blair change his "presumptions about Islam". She decided to become a Muslim six weeks ago after visiting the shrine of Fatima al-Masumeh in the city of Qom.

"It was a Tuesday evening and I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy," she told The Mail on Sunday. When she returned to Britain, she decided to convert immediately.

"Now I don't eat pork and I read the Koran every day. I'm on page 60. I also haven't had a drink in 45 days, the longest period in 25 years," she said.

"The strange thing is that since I decided to convert I haven't wanted to touch alcohol, and I was someone who craved a glass of wine or two at the end of a day."

Refusing to discount the possibility that she might wear a burka, she said: "Who knows where my spiritual journey will take me?"

Before her awakening in Iran, she had been "sympathetic" to Islam and has spent considerable time working in Palestine. "I was always impressed with the strength and comfort it gave," she said of the religion.

Booth, who works for Press TV, the English-language Iranian news channel, has been a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq. In August 2008 she travelled to Gaza by ship from Cyprus, along with 46 other activists, to highlight Israel's blockade of the territory.

She was subsequently refused entry into both Israel and Egypt. In 2006 she was a contestant on the ITV reality show I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!, donating her fee to the Palestinian relief charity Interpal.

During her visit to Iran last month, Booth wrote a public letter to Blair asking him to mark Al-Quds (Jerusalem) day - a protest at Israel's occupation of Palestine. The missive was a bitter attack on the former Prime Minister, who is now a Middle East envoy working for peace in the troubled region.

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