Interview with Yvonne Ridley

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Wendy O’Shea-Meddour

Keywords

Abstract

The story of British freelance journalist and author Yvonne
Ridley is fascinating. Ridley, an experienced and well-respected
journalist, was the chief reporter for The Sunday Express and
had worked for several newspapers, including The Sunday
Times, The Independent, and The Observer . But in September
2001 she became a household name when captured by the
Taliban in Afghanistan. On her release, she famously told the
awaiting press that her captors had treated her with “courtesy
and respect.” This was not the expected response, and Fleet
Street subsequently vilified her.
Her decision to honor a promise made to an imam while in
Afghanistan led her to study and, to her own surprise, embrace
Islam in June 2003. This did little to improve her popularity with
the press. Calling upon the resilience and determination that had
made her such a good journalist, she moved from London to
Qatar to take up a position as senior editor at al-Jazeera’s soonto-
be-launched English website. After just 5 months, and under
rather mysterious circumstances, she was sacked. This prompted
Ridley to write her first novel Ticket to Paradise. Ridley has
since returned to England and is now a prominent Muslim
activist and anti-war campaigner.

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