|Born||Sarah Jane Booth
22 July 1967
Islington, London, England
|Other names||Sarah Booth|
|Occupation||Journalist, broadcaster, public speaker|
(m. 2000; div. 2010)
Sarah Jane Booth was born and grew up in North London. Booth is a half-sister of Cherie Blair (wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair) and the sixth daughter of actor Tony Booth. She trained as an actress at the London Academy of Performing Arts spending several years touring Europe with various, regional, theatre companies.
In 1997, she entered journalism. Her earliest writing experiences were with the London Evening Standard, writing the column ‘About Town’. In 1999, she began to write for the political magazine, the New Statesman, where she remained for four years. At the same time, she began writing columns and features for The Mail on Sunday as a columnist. Booth was a writer for the New Statesman and the Mail on Sunday. During her time as a writer with The Mail on Sunday, she was sent to report on the 2005 Palestinian elections.
Between 2006 and 2008 Booth presented In Focus on the UK's Islam Channel. She has had a long association with the Iranian owned Press TV, starting with Between The Headlines in 2008. Between 2010 and 2012 she presented Remember Palestine and Diaspora.
In 2014 she presented her own series on the newly launched British Muslim TV, called Talking Booth. In 2014 she took a senior producer post at Al Jazeera in Doha.
In August 2008 she travelled to Gaza by ship from Cyprus, along with 46 other activists, to highlight the blockade of the Gaza Strip and deliver hearing aids and balloons to a school for the deaf in Gaza. She was subsequently refused entry into both Israel and Egypt. She claimed that by refusing her the right to leave Gaza and return to her home country, Israel was in breach of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, specifically regarding freedom of movement.
Booth stated that Gaza is "the largest concentration camp in the world today", although the Jerusalem Post suggested that several photographs of Booth in a well-stocked Gaza grocery "bel[ied] the grim picture she painted of the Strip". During her visit, she received a Palestinian VIP passport from Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. Booth left Gaza through the Rafah Border Crossing into Egypt on 20 September 2008. In 2009, she returned to Gaza with the aid convoy Viva Palestina, set up by the British politician George Galloway. Since 2012 she has returned on several occasions as the Chair of Trustees with the charity she co-founded Peace Trail, delivering assistance to students and families in the region.
Conversion to Islam
In 2010, Booth converted to Islam. Booth appeared at the Islam Channel's Global Peace and Unity event on 23 October 2010, dressed in loose clothing and with a hijab, declaring: "My name is Lauren Booth, and I am a Muslim." She attributed her awakening to a 'holy experience' during a visit to a Shi'a shrine in Iran as a reporter.
She married actor Craig Darby in 2000 and the couple had two children. Booth and Darby divorced in 2010.
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- AFP Photo, Gettyimages.com, 3 September 2008.
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- Daily Mail
- "UPDATE: Lauren Booth and Sami Al Hajj join Cageprisoners as patrons". Cageprisoners. 28 June 2011.