A Version of Conversion

In the New English Review, Dalrymple analyzes “one of the most peculiar recent cases of religious conversion, that of Lauren Booth, half-sister-in-law to Mr Anthony Blair, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, to Islam”. He calls her conversion shallow and egotistical, driven not by a belief in the truth of Islam but by, among other reasons, her desire to find a religious reason to give up her excessive drinking while also avoiding Christianity:

…there is a lot of cultural pressure on people nowadays to appear not to conform to what were once the mores of society, especially among those who come from discontented or resentful sectors of society. Individuality, the most desired but elusive of attainments in mass society, seems to require the repudiation of what was once deemed respectability. It is not respectable to be respectable. And you would have to be very tone-deaf to the music of western society not to realise that conversion to Islam is a good way to alarm it, not to be respectable.

Read it here


5 thoughts on “A Version of Conversion

  1. Mary

    Hmm. . . I’m not sure that her conversion was completely void of reasoning, though she did not spell it all out: a belief that produced calm and peace for its followers would argue that it is in harmony with human nature and reality, which is at least evidence of truth.

    Of course, that logic she did not lay out.

  2. Rachel

    He’s quite correct here.
    I laughed out loud when I read she was “30 pages in” the Koren.

    This got on the back of the news in Israel as a short 1minute segment.

  3. Mxymaster

    Excellent piece. I sincerely hope she maintains her sobriety, but I doubt it is possible in this case. Celebrities or, indeed, anyone who make a big show of recovery (through rehab or conversion or whatever) have already got their reward — attention and victimhood and a kind of wistful public honor — and do not get the reward of actual sobriety. You can’t have both. (I know a bit about it…)

  4. P. H.

    The term “kleptocratic sanctimony” is a perfect description for the Blair schnorrers.

    I also thought that, “We hate you in all your British sitting rooms…” had a sort of Churchillian ring to it. “We shall go on to the end. We shall hate you in your kitchens, we shall hate you in all your parks and gardens, we shall hate you with growing confidence and growing strength on the air, we shall defend our Ummah, whatever the cost may be. We shall hate you in your vehicles, we shall hate you in all your British sitting-rooms, we shall hate you in the pubs and in the bingo-halls, we shall hate you at the tills; we shall never surrender…”

    …And just try saying “all your British sitting rooms” quickly…


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