Once you have embraced Islam, you become part of the Islamic tradition, said Lauren Booth, one of Britain’s most high-profile Muslim converts, Anadolu News Agency reports.
“So my history is not the queens and kings of England. It’s the Ottoman Sultans, the Prophet (peace be upon him), it’s that lineage and that life,” Booth said, who is an author and journalist.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu, Booth, who embraced Islam after her visit to Palestine 11 years ago, talked about her life in Istanbul, her journey to Islam and a recently published Turkish edition of her book, “In Search of a Holy Land”.
Having travelled all around the Muslim world, Booth decided to settle in Istanbul three years ago. “I am grateful to Allah for being drawn to Turkiye.”
Interestingly, many Muslim converts from Britain, Canada and other countries are also “being drawn to Turkiye,” she says.
“It’s like there’s a great gathering going here.”
She is also making videos about Turkiye for her YouTube channel.
“The more that I found myself going to these big great mosques the more I realised that, as a Western person, my idea of the Ottoman Empire of who the Turks were, was so jaded by Orientalism, I had to start again.
“So I decided to start making videos for a YouTube channel about the history of the Ottomans.”
So far, Booth has made videos on the Suleymaniye Mosque, Kuzguncuk neighborhood and Uskudar “the hidden gem, the Holy Land of Istanbul”.
Touching on her life in Istanbul, she said: “What I love about the many things in Istanbul is it’s all about families. So you can go out at 9 o’clock in the evening, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and there are families with children, going out to eat, always celebrations going on.”
Calling renovations in the Uskudar district, where Booth resides with her husband, “for the people,” she said: “That’s really different to the UK right now.”
She said she loves Turkish breakfast. “It’s always such a treat.”
Booth, who is the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said she has a great relationship with her sister, Cherie Blair.
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She recalled her sister’s visit to Turkiye with a smile, saying: “There was a time she came over to meet President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan, about eight years ago. He gave her a scarf for me. I think she was annoyed.”
Turkish edition of ‘In Search of a Holy Land’
The first foreign language edition of her book has been released in Turkish.
She said: “It’s a really dynamic travel adventure about a spirit seeking truth. This is my story from cradle to celebrity, to going to Palestine, to activism.”
“A story of the modern times of how we get lost and how do we find the light. That’s what this book is about,” she concluded.