Radicalism with Yvonne Ridley


This week on the podcast it’s our absolute privilege to chat with Yvonne Ridley, a journalist and activist who has one of the most fascinating life stories we think you’ll ever hear. Plus, her very enthusiastic peacocks have their say, too.

We talk about Yvonne’s experience as a prisoner of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, the promise she made to her captors to study Islam and read the Quran if they released her, and her unexpected faith journey thereafter, as she decided to leave the Christian faith and embrace Islam.

Plus, as well as talking about her decades of work to combat harmful Muslim stereotypes, we dig into her relentless activism for issues as wide-ranging as Scottish independence, peace in Gaza, justice for Rohingya Muslims, and more generally, what it means to be a ‘radical’.

Meanwhile, Katherine and Paul reflect on one year of podcasting – no, we can’t believe it either – and their potential new careers as daytime TV hosts.

Links, resources and episode timestamps (for all you skippers out there) below.


British journalist Yvonne Ridley made global headlines when she was captured by the Taliban in 2001. Since then she has moved from London to Scotland, becoming active in the independence movement. She has published a number of books including her harrowing experience with the Taliban and another on the Rise of the Prophet Muhammad. She worked as a senior editor to establish Al Jazeera’s English website in Qatar before returning to the UK to play central roles in the start up TV projects Islam Channel and Press TV. When she’s not working as a journalist in humanitarian and conflict zones she writes historical fiction from her remote farm in the Scottish Borders. She was nominated for a Nobel peace prize in 2019 for humanitarian work involving Syrian women prisoners and helping Rohingya refugees compile evidence of war crimes.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook



Fundraiser: Gaza Children’s festival (Amos Trust)

Fundraiser: Rebuild Gaza’s Samir Mansour Book Store (Clive Stafford Smith)



Free Radical: Yvonne Ridley

Why is there a war in Afghanistan? The short, medium and long story

Historical anti-war protest in London: 15 February 2003

The Day I Realized I Would Never Find Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq

Respect Party

Scottish National Party

Action for Independence 

All Under One Banner

Timeline: the humanitarian impact of the Gaza blockade

Peace Activist Boats Sail Into Gaza Sand

Myanmar Rohingya: What you need to know about the crisis

Malak Mattar

Clive Stafford Smith Podcast episode


Books by Yvonne Ridley

Eden Burning


00:00 – Welcome to Somewhere To Believe In
00:47 – Katherine and Paul catch up
04:50 – Introducing Yvonne Ridley
06:32 – Yvonne Ridley joins the conversation
06:42 – Yvonne on her animals
07:44 – Yvonne on her experience in Afghanistan
13:16 – Yvonne on pro-war propaganda
17:37 – Yvonne on the movement against the Iraq War
20:38 – Yvonne on ISIS and religious extremism
22:04 – Yvonne on media accountability
25:50 – Yvonne on radicalism
28:32 – Yvonne on grassroots politics
32:28 – Yvonne on activism in Gaza
36:10 – Yvonne on Zionism 
38:40 – Yvonne on being hopeful
43:55 – Katherine and Paul reflect on the conversation with Yvonne
58:30 – Next week on the podcast
59:21 – How to get in touch with us
59:58 – Thank you’s
01:00:48 – Hidden track


A huge thanks to the Greenbelt Volunteer Talks Team for all their hard work on editing this episode. Our podcast music is ‘I Can Change’ by Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires.