Mark Taylor received the nickname “the Kiwi Jihadi” after he left his native New Zealand and joined ISIS in Syria.
Perhaps predictably, life as a fundie warrior wasn’t everything he’d expected. Taylor recently told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he’d abandoned ISIS three months ago because
“There was no food, no money, basic services were pretty much collapsed. I was in a pickle myself and had to make a final decision, which was to leave. That was a hard decision to call, because people were telling me ‘You can’t leave, you came here for the sake of Allah, you came here to die‘.”
Taylor claims — perhaps not entirely convincingly — that he never picked up arms against the West and non-Muslims. To hear him tell it, he was only a guard, charged with protecting a makeshift border between Syrian government troops and ISIS fighters. Under any reasonable interpretation, that still makes him an (ex-)soldier for the caliphate.
Regardless of how much violence he personally employed, the Kiwi Jihadi approved wholeheartedly of murder.
In 2015, the U.S. government declared Taylor a global terrorist after he encouraged attacks in Australia and New Zealand and appeared in an IS propaganda video. He also posted a YouTube video telling followers to “commence your operations, even if it means you have to stab a few police officers, soldiers … and so be it.”
It appears that Taylor, even as he’s angling to return to New Zealand, has a limited capacity for remorse. In fact, he volunteers that one of his main regrets about his time with ISIS is that he couldn’t afford to buy a female Yazidi slave.
“I would have liked to have one, but I never got to,” he said. “To buy a slave, you’re looking at least 4,000 American [dollars] to buy an older woman, at least past 50 years old. And to buy a decent one, at least $10,000 or $20,000. They range from prices from $4,000 up to $50,000, and I didn’t have that kind of money just to throw around myself. I was too poor.”
Doesn’t your heart just bleed for him?
Taylor said he believed if he owned a slave he was entitled to do whatever he wanted, and he didn’t care that the women were taken forcibly as slaves. … “I would go to the masjid (mosque) and someone would say, ‘I bought a slave for $5,000, $10,000’, and I thought I’d like to have that kind of money myself, but I never had the chance, so I stuck to being married to a Syrian lady.”
Taylor had two wives while living with the group, both of them Syrian.
Currently stuck in a Kurdish prison in Northern Syria, Taylor reckons that New Zealand may not want him back.
“If they do take me back, most probably I’ll be spending a couple of years in jail,” he said.
And he had an apology, of sorts, for his home country.
“I’m sorry for causing too much trouble and being a bit hot-headed and flamboyant in my approach… I don’t know if I can go back to New Zealand, but at the end of the day it’s really something I have to live with for the rest of my life.”
It takes a person warped by religious ideology to liken the promotion of indiscriminate butchery to mere hotheadedness and flamboyance. Here’s hoping that the world’s governments find a way to never allow Taylor to be part of civilized society again.
(Top screenshot via YouTube. Bottom image via Facebook)