Why is UK Taliban supporter linked to jailed terrorist Al Masri and ex wife of PLO 'colonel' listed as a speaker at the U of Penn instead of on a 'no fly' list?
September 27, 2005
MIM: While the country is fighting a war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, the question needs to be asked as to why UK citizen Yvonne Ridley, is being allowed into the United States to speak when she is a known supporter of jailed terrorist leader Abu Hamza Al Masri, who called her to offer his congratulations on her conversion to Islam. Ridley has expressed her support for suicide bombings at a forum which included a member of Al Muhajiroun, (a group which was connected to London subway attacks), and has made it her mission to propagandise on behalf of the Taliban, who she credit with inspiring her conversion to Islam, while omitting to mention her ex husband was Muslim and 'colonel' in the terrorist organisation the PLO.
In order to further clarify her Jihadist agenda, Ridley's website flashes links to a screed by jailed terrorist Babar Ahmed and to a humorous piece of hers called "Osama Bin Laden's Head" which ends with this allusion to the Bush administration which she equates with Bin Laden.
"Some might say the Iraqi's would be justified in demanding that the heads of the guilty should be served up on a plate ... who cares about dry ice..." http://www.yvonneridley.com/columns/osamabinladin.asp
MIM: Ridley has also put forth the wacko conspiracy theory that the CIA and Mossad wanted her killed to get support for the war on Afghanistan. The article ends with the words: "But Yvonne Ridley is still determined to get to the bottom of her own story". More evidence, if any is needed, that Ridley's story is more fabrication then fact. (for complete article see below).
MIM:Besides the obvious fact that Ridley's humanitarian concerns are limited to Muslims and their allies, her claim that she was released by the Taliban on 'humanitarian grounds' are patently disingenuous. The Taliban knew that she was sympathetic to their cause and had married an official from the PLO terrorist organisation, and must have know (or quickly been made aware) of her radical Islamist sympathies after her 'capture'. Besides her much touted promise which she made to the Taliban to read the Koran, it seems likely that Ridley also assured them she would be their international PR person.
Her ex husband, is former Palestine Liberation Organisation Colonel, Daoud Zaaroura, 54, (who is also chief executive of the Northern England Refugee Service). Zaaroura's ties to the PFLP would certainly have helped to secure Ridley's release from the Taliban, as well as the fact that her daughter with Zaaroura, would have been born Muslim, since Islam is patrilineal. Ridley's story about coming to Islam because of her experience with the Taliban is patently false, since her ex husband, whom she married nearly a decade before, was a Muslim.
For Ridley the Taliban and the PLO are humanitarian organisations. She sees the politicians as the real terrorists and is listed as the 'patron' of a website called "Stop Political Terror'. It is worth noting that the name was changed from 'Stop Police Terror', more indication that Ridley and her cronies, who view terrorists as humanitarians, cannot decide on who fits the criteria of terrorism in their Islamo facist weltaanshauung. http://www.stoppoliticalterror.com/index.php?pageid=2
The Stop Political Terror site features a campaign to free Babar Ahmed, and oppose his extradition to the US to stand trial for terrorism activities. Ahmed was a UK computer specialist who set up websites which collected funds and urged Muslims to "wage Jihad with every means a their disposal". Babar was linked to New Jersey Imam Mazen Mokhtar of the Al Huda mosque who is currently under investigation. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/622
Ridley also has her own website. In a recent interview with the Arab press in which she implied that Americans deserved 9/11 and had more coming if they didnt learn their lesson.
Q: " How do you think the events unleased by 9/11 will end? Or will they never end?
A: " I don't think 9/11 was the start of anything, it was the continuation. I wish the American people had stood back and asked why 9/11 happened. I fear 9/11 is an indication of things to come..."
MIM: In an interview with the radical Islamonline website she declared that:
"...September 11 was the best and worst thing that happened to Islam..".
"I know that the confidence of many brothers and sisters has been shattered, but be proud of who you are and what you stand for..."
"...Do not be browbeaten into diluting your beliefs in the hope of ingratiating yourself with those in power..."
MIM: In a BBC article entitled "Yvonne Ridley from Captive to Convert" she gushed about her happiness as a new Muslimah stating that:
" ...I have joined what I consider to be the biggest and best family in the world. When we stick together we are absolutely invincible." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/3673730.stm
Ridley, who is a staunch supporter of suicide bombings, also links to the website Maktabah which offers useful books like The Religious and Moral Doctrine of Jihaad: http://www.yvonneridley.com/links.asp
MIM: Predictably, Ridley has described her friend, jailed terrorist Abu Hamza Al Masri "as a sweet guy", and proudly related that he gave her books on Islam. In an article about her conversion she taunted members of US intelligience agencies as "incompetant spooks"and joked about "opening a Madrassah for recruits from my flat in Soho".
In light of the London bombings , her boasts of connections with Al Qaeda operatives Al Masri, and her ex husband's position in the PLO, Ridley's joke sounds more like a confession, and she should be under investigation.
"...Several days later I was released unharmed on humanitarian grounds on the orders of Mullah Omar, the Taliban's one-eyed spiritual leader. My captors had treated me with courtesy and respect and so, in turn, I kept my word and set out to study their religion."
" I became more impressed with what I read. I turned to several eminent Islamic academics, including Dr Zaki Badawi, for advice and instruction. I was even given several books by the notorious Sheikh Abu Hamza Al-Masri who I spoke to after sharing a platform at an Oxford Union debate.
MIM: No wonder Ridley was put on a "Watch on Terror website in America. Her lobbying for the radical Islamist cause has earned her the gratitude of the Taliban.
"She revisited Afghanistan with her then nine year old daughter, Daisy. To her horror she recognized one of her captors in an eating place, and he recognized her:
MIM: It should come as no surprise that the Taliban liked what Ridley said about them. Her promotion of terrorist causes, and association with terrorists has has been on going for years, to the point where she even married one and brought him to Britain!.
Ridley's ex husband was a former colonel in the Palestine Liberation Organisation Her daughter would have been automatically considered a Muslim because Islam is passed from father to child, so Ridley's alarm at seeing one of her former captors, while on a visit to Afghanistan can not be considered credible. On the contrary, the fact that she went back, with her young daughter, makes it more likely that she was sure she would be received as a friend and ally. An article which was written during the time Ridley was 'held' by the Taliban related that:
" Ms Ridley met Daisy's father, a former Palestine Liberation Organisation Colonel, in Cyprus while working on an assignment for the Sunday Sun.
"...Daoud Zaaroura, 54, who is chief executive of the Northern England Refugee Service, described his former wife as "a journalist of great integrity and courage who shows no fear in pursuit of a story"
MIM: In an amusing twist, another version of this story from the British media has Ridley's husband, the terrorist, breaking down in tears when he hears of Ridley's 'capture' by the Taliban whom he labels 'a fanatical regime', and adds that he is worried they think she was gathering intelligence". It also mentions that the PLO 'colonel' was her third husband.
The discrepancy of both accounts also adds to the suspicion that Ridley's capture story is either totally false or was embellished with dramatic flourishes for the media. Her promise to the Taliban to read the Koran upon her release, seems less credible then the idea (given her marriage to a Muslim), that she promised the Taliban to advocate for them in the media.
"...Mr Zaaroura, 54, now chief executive of the North of England Refugee Service, broke down in tears when told of her arrest. He said: "Yvonne is a journalist of great integrity and courage who shows no fear in the pursuit of a story.
"But she can be reckless and I am gravely worried about her now. The Taliban is a fanatical regime and I am concerned that they will think she has been gathering intelligence..." http://www.news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/29/wrid29.xml
MIM: Zaaroura PLO ties to the international terrorist network, and the fact of Ridley's marriage to a Muslim, did more then just help her 'cruise' out of her alleged 'captivity'. It landed her with an exclusive interview with PLO terrorist chief Ahmed Jibril.
:...After the Lockerbie disaster nine years ago, Ms Ridley got the first interview with Ahmed Jibril, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which had been among the chief suspects..".
MIM: In 2000 Za'roura spoke at a rally in London. In his bio on the 'Right of Return' website he was described as a 'young Palestinian who joined the Palestinian resistance movement and was active in Palestinian political groups. No mention is made of his position as 'colonel' in the PLO, and 'resistance movement' is used a euphemism for terrorist activities. His current 'social justice' involvement in 'social justice research' implies finding ways of destroying Israel and undermining the West by bringing in as many Muslims as possible.
"...Daoud Za'aroura is a Palestinian refugee, born in 1947 in a little town near Nazareth (Saffouri). In 1948 his family left Palestine to Lebanon with hundreds of thousands of other Palestinian refugees who have lived since then in Palestinian refugees camps. As a young Palestinian he joined the Palestinian resistance movement and was active within the Palestinian political groups. He left the Middle East in 1992 and arrived in Britain where he was granted political asylum. Since then he has been working with refugees and homeless people in a charitable refugee organisation in Britain. He continues to be involved in refugee issues and social justice research..." http://www.ataha.com/londonrally/speakers.htm
It also appears that having a the background of colonel in a terrorist organisation is considered a professional asset in the UK. Zaaroura, who must have been able to come to the UK because of his marriage to Ridley, is now head of the North of England Refugee Service.
Which begs the question as to how many terrorists he (and Ridle) are helping to enter the country under the guise of asylum, and are being helped by the NERS to remain and get funding in the UK.
Not surprisingly he describes the portrayal of refugees in the media as unfair, the same thing his ex wife said about the press reports about the Taliban:
"...She (Ridley) now describes radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri as "quite sweet really" and says the Taleban have suffered an unfair press..." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/3673730.stm
MIM: It is worth noting that the sponsors of self proclaimed Taliban spokeswoman Yvonne Ridley includes the Office of the Chaplain at the U of Penn, and the Fox Leadership Program.
(With her message that the Taliban and the Koran are espouse female equality, one can only wonder why no campus feminist group is among the sponsors.)
All Events Sponsored by: SPEC, Middle East Center, Tangible Change, Office of the Chaplain, Fox Leadership Program, Greenfield Intercultural Center, GAPSA, South Asia Studies Department, and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department
Wednesday, September 28th
Ten Days with the Taliban
Yvonne Ridley, Former British Journalist
7:30 PM, Terrace Room, Logan Hall
As a British journalist, she was captured and questioned for 10 days by the Taliban. As a negotiator, she offered to study the Qur'an in return for her freedom. As a woman of faith, she converted to the religion she claims to be "the biggest and best family in the world". Hear the former Sunday Express reporter speak about the experience that "removed [her] veil of bigotry and prejudice about Islam."
Yvonne Ridley is a British journalist and politician. She was born on Stanley in County Durham in north east England. She shot to fame in September 2001, when whilst for the Daily Express in Afghanistan, she was captured by the Taliban in September 2001, and held hostage for 11 days. She offered to read the Qur'an during her captivity, and later did, partly to find out why the Taliban treated women as they do. She found no justification in the Qur'an for it, and converted to Islam in the summer of 2003. http://mec.sas.upenn.edu/images/IAW.docRidley: "The Koran makes it crystal clear that women are equal"
If you were being interrogated by the Taleban as a suspected US spy, it might be hard to imagine a happy ending.
But for journalist Yvonne Ridley, the ordeal in Afghanistan led her to convert to a religion she says is "the biggest and best family in the world".
The formerly hard-drinking Sunday school teacher became a Muslim after reading the Koran on her release.
She now describes radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri as "quite sweet really" and says the Taleban have suffered an unfair press.
Working as a reporter for the Sunday Express in September 2001, Ridley was smuggled from Pakistan across the Afghan border.
But her cover was blown when she fell off her donkey in front of a Taleban soldier near Jalalabad, revealing a banned camera underneath her robes.
Her first thought as the furious young man came running towards her?
"Wow - you're gorgeous," she says.
"He had those amazing green eyes that are peculiar to that region of Afghanistan and a beard with a life of its own.
"But fear quickly took over. I did see him again on my way to Pakistan after my release and he waved at me from his car."
Ridley was interrogated for 10 days without being allowed a phone call, and missed her daughter Daisy's ninth birthday.
Of the Taleban, Ridley says: "I couldn't support what they did or believed in, but they were demonised beyond recognition, because you can't drop bombs on nice people."
It has been suggested the 46-year-old is a victim of Stockholm Syndrome, in which hostages take the side of the hostage-takers.
But she says: "I was horrible to my captors. I spat at them and was rude and refused to eat. It wasn't until I was freed that I became interested in Islam."
Indeed, the Taleban deputy foreign minister was called in when Ridley refused to take her underwear down from the prison washing line, which was in view of soldier's quarters.
"He said, 'Look, if they see those things they will have impure thoughts'."
"Afghanistan was about to be bombed by the richest country in the world and all they were concerned about was my big, flappy, black knickers.
"I realised the US doesn't have to bomb the Taleban - just fly in a regiment of women waving their underwear and they will all run off."
Once she was back in the UK, Ridley turned to the Koran as part of her attempt to understand her experience.
"I was absolutely blown away by what I was reading - not one dot or squiggle had been changed in 1,400 years.
"I have joined what I consider to be the biggest and best family in the world. When we stick together we are absolutely invincible."
What do her Church of England parents in County Durham make of her new family?
"Initially the reaction of my family and friends was one of horror, but now they can all see how much happier, healthier and fulfilled I am.
"And my mother is delighted I've stopped drinking."
What does Ridley feel about the place of women in Islam?
"There are oppressed women in Muslim countries, but I can take you up the side streets of Tyneside and show you oppressed women there.
"Oppression is cultural, it is not Islamic. The Koran makes it crystal clear that women are equal."
And her new Muslim dress is empowering, she says.
"How liberating is it to be judged for your mind and not the size of your bust or length of your legs."
A single mother who has been married three times, she says Islam has freed her from worry over her love life.
"I no longer sit and wait by the phone for a man to ring and I haven't been stood up for months.
"I have no man stress. For the first time since my teens I don't have that pressure to have a boyfriend or husband."
But there has been a phone call from at least one male admirer - north London preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri.
"He said, 'Sister Yvonne, welcome to Islam, congratulations'.
"I explained I hadn't yet taken my final vows and he said, 'Don't be pressured or pushed, the whole community is there for you if you need any help, just call one of the sisters.'
'Straight to hellfire'
"I thought, I can't believe it, this is the fire and brimstone cleric from Finsbury Park mosque and he is quite sweet really.
"I was just about to hang up when he said, 'But there is just one thing I want you to remember. Tomorrow, if you have an accident and die, you will go straight to hellfire'.
"I was so scared that I carried a copy of the vows in my purse until my final conversion last June."
And the hardest part of her new life?
"Praying five times a day. And I am still struggling to give up cigarettes."
Published in the Independent:
By : Jo Dillon
Journalist Yvonne Ridley Says Intelligence Agencies Wanted Her Killed to Build Support for War on Afghanistan
Yvonne Ridley, the British journalist captured by the Taliban, this week makes the extraordinary claim that Western intelligence agencies tried to get her killed to bolster public support for the air strikes on Afghanistan.
In her new book, In The Hands of the Taliban, Express journalist Ms Ridley, 43, says despite her release from captivity she still has "unfinished business" surrounding her time in Afghanistan.
She claims that on her return to Pakistan she found her hotel room had been searched. In London, the locks on her Soho flat had apparently been tampered with. A journalist on the Arab TV station Al Jazeera then showed her a collection of as yet unverified documents. They purported to be copies of a dossier of personal and financial papers and pictures.
When told they had been handed to the Taliban, Ms Ridley asked: "Who the hell was trying to get me shot?"
With the help of prominent QC Michael Mansfield, the Al Jazeera journalist, Nacer Bedri, and contacts in the security and intelligence services, Ms Ridley is now trying to piece together what happened.
She says the documents were photocopies of genuine-looking Inland Revenue tax returns and the title deeds to a previous London home owned by her. There was also a copy of an Israeli passport belonging to her third husband, Hermosh, along with a Mossad code number and ID card also said to belong to him. The figures in the financial documents were exaggerated, Ms Ridley said. Also in the bundle was a photograph of Ms Ridley, Hermosh and her daughter Daisy, now aged nine, "taken on a river in Iran when you entered the country illegally".
Ms Ridley's book says: "I looked at the picture again and initially laughed, when I realised it had been taken in October 1998 in Stratford-upon-Avon. Then an awful feeling came to my stomach and I wanted to vomit. I remembered where I had last seen that picture--in my top drawer at my new flat in Soho. I had kicked out Husband No 3 a couple of weeks after those pictures were taken; they weren't developed until later--after he had gone. So who had been in my flat?"
Ms Ridley is convinced the intelligence services must have somehow been involved--and has vowed to prove it. "Without giving too much away, I can say the matter isn't going to rest," she said yesterday.
The publication of her book and the claims it makes are certain to throw Ms Ridley back into the spotlight--a place that has not been particularly comfortable for her since she was captured by the Taliban on 28 September and after her release on 8 October.
Ms Ridley was lambasted for making a "foolhardy" decision to go into Afghanistan with a number of commentators accusing her of being "selfish" for taking such a risk as a single mother.
Others raised questions about Ms Ridley's time in Afghanistan, one report claiming that rather than being captured in the country where she was carrying out a newspaper investigation; she was picked up over the border in Pakistan and had never entered Afghanistan.
On her return, Ms Ridley was criticised for failing to pay enough attention in her account of her ordeal to the two guides--then still in prison--captured helping her or the aid workers held alongside her. Early reviews of her book were far from flattering. But Ms Ridley is determined to get to the bottom of her own story. -- The Independent
MIM: For more on Yvonne Ridley see: