"I promised that if they released me, I’d study Islam when I got back to
London. And what started out as an academic study has
now turned into something much more spiritual. I’m very impressed with what
Covered in a burqa from head to toe, Yvonne Ridley entered Afghanistan
illegally “to try and cover the humanitarian crisis and speak to those
Afghan people who couldn't or wouldn't leave the country.” Less than
two weeks after the 9/11 attack, it was a time when traveling to
Afghanistan posed great risk. “But journalists do take risks while
they're pursuing stories … Journalists will go into hostile areas
because by the very nature that is where the news story is,” she
said in a BBC interview.
She was captured on September 28th by the Taliban and kept in prison
for 10 days. “The first six days I was detained in the intelligence
headquarters in Jalalabad and I was given a room with air-conditioning.
I had access to a flush toilet and shower so I was quite comfortable
there under the circumstances. Then I was moved to Kabul prison in the
centre of the capital which was very basic. It had no running water - if
you wanted water, you had to crank a hand pump in the courtyard outside
and that was a real shock to the system.”
She was released 10 days later. She had no complaint about how she was
treated. “They treated me with the greatest courtesy and respect, and I know
that jars with a lot of people.”
After 1 year, she now surprises everyone by her plan to convert to Islam.
In an interview with Newsweek, she mentions how that happened:
“When I was captured, I was visited by an imam who asked me if I’d
like to convert. I thought if I just said yes, he’d say I was a fickle
woman, and if I said no, then it would be a huge insult to Islam. So I
promised that if they released me, I’d study Islam when I got back to London.
And what started out as an academic study has now turned into something
much more spiritual. I’m very impressed with what I’ve found.”
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