I don’t have any Muslim friends. I was acquainted with one girl who converted to Islam to marry her husband but I didn’t know her well, and I haven’t seen her in many years so I’m not sure how that worked out for her.
So my interest was piqued to read that English writer Lauren Booth had converted to Islam, moving from a state of self-confessed ignorance about practicing Islam (pretty much where my knowledge of it is right now) five years ago to embracing the religion wholeheartedly this year.
I can’t say I’m particularly excited either way about her decision. Her article in today’s Guardian caught the eye though, less for her explanations on why she chose Islam above other religions to convert to, but why she felt her life was lacking in the first place.
I have glimpsed the great lie that is the facade of our modern lives; that materialism, consumerism, sex and drugs will give us lasting happiness. But I have also peeked behind the screens and seen an enchanting, enriched existence of love, peace and hope.
I feel patronised by this. Just because I drink, have sex, like buying the odd frock now and then (I’m a modest consumer, I would say), is my life shallow, without its own peace, and ultimately empty?
Isn’t Lauren Booth, in decrying how her decision to turn to Islam has been greeted with condescension and criticism, guilty of the same when she talks about those of us who haven’t?