Yvonne Ridley, Getting to know Islam from the Taliban
According to Ridley, he was not surprised when the media reacted hysterically at his consideration of becoming a Muslim. In fact, some of the comments in the article seemed to be cornering and cynical.
"A journalist also accused me of suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, because I was kidnapped by the Taliban for 10 days," Ridley said, quoted by Islam Web, Saturday (19/9).
Ridley said that basically the spiritual journey he was going through was a personal matter between himself and God. However, when it became commonplace, he decided to share his experiences about Islam to prevent further misunderstanding.
At first, Ridley became acquainted with Islam unexpectedly. At that time, he had to be in the custody of the Taliban on charges of entering Afghanistan illegally.
One day, during his detention, Ridley was visited by a scholar who asked him what he thought about Islam and whether he wanted to become a Muslim. At that time, he admitted that he was very scared.
“For five days I managed to avoid the topic of religion in the country. "If I give the wrong answer, I have convinced myself that I will be stoned to death," said Ridley.
After careful thought, Ridley thanked the cleric for the offer. According to him, the cleric was not being pushy and said it was difficult to make decisions because he was currently in detention.
However, in Ridley's heart at that time, he promised to study Islam if he was released and returned to England, precisely where he settled in the capital city of London. A few days later he was released unharmed on humanitarian grounds on the orders of Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban.
Ridley said the kidnappers treated him with courtesy and respect. Instead, he fulfilled his promise to start studying Islam.
"It should be like an academic study, but as I get more engrossed with each page, I become more impressed with what I read," Ridley said.
Ridley also asked for advice and suggestions from several prominent Islamic academics, one of which was Zaki Badawi. He was also given several books by Sheikh Abu Hamza AI-Masri whom he met after sharing a platform at the Oxford Union debate.
Ridley feels fortunate to have received support and understanding from other Muslim brothers and sisters. Neither of them, according to him, forced him to become a Muslim.
Although they felt there was no pressure to become Muslim, the real pressure to stay away from Islam came from some friends and journalists. Ridley said they felt uncomfortable with him, not because of bad attitudes or actions, but simply because of his current religion.
"You would think I had made a pact with the devil or wanted to become a great magician in the Ku Klux Klan," Ridley said of the views of those around him.
Ridley also said that many thought he had been brainwashed. In fact, there are many educated and intelligent Muslim women who are even aware of the role of politics.
Ridley hoped to have such knowledge when captured by the Taliban. She wanted to ask the group why they treated their own women so badly.
"The Koran has made it clear that all Muslims, men and women have the same values, spirituality and responsibility," said Ridley.