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Mark Taylor: I stayed with ISIS because of their 'courtesy and manners'

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Thursday, 7 March 2019, 5:15p.m.
Mark Taylor has said that many New Zealanders have threatened to kill him. (Photo / Supplied)
Mark Taylor has said that many New Zealanders have threatened to kill him. (Photo / Supplied)

One of the main reasons the Kiwi Jihadi stayed with Isis for so long was because of their "courtesy and manners" – something he says New Zealanders lack.

But Mark Taylor also said in the end, he felt let down and hard done by, by Isis.

In an interview with Kiwi freelance journalist Campbell MacDiarmid, Taylor – who is currently imprisoned in a Syrian jail – discussed his past, his regrets and his thoughts on New Zealanders.

And it's clear that he has a few problems with Kiwis.

"I've had people before threaten to kill me if I ever return back to New Zealand. One article I saw with comments, every second or third comment was people threatening to kill me," he said, in the interview which was published by The National.

He said people in Isis treated him "quite good".

"Especially from the Syrians, they were showing a lot of respect towards me because I came from New Zealand, [I was] very surprised.

"That's probably one of the main reasons why I stayed in the Islamic State because of their courtesy and manners. In New Zealand, they don't have that as such."

He spoke about a time when he was living in New Zealand when someone randomly picked a fight with him.

"I thought New Zealand was supposed to be one of the safest countries in the world. And you have someone walking down the street who wants to pick a fight with you ... No tolerance."

He said he felt let down by the New Zealand Government too.

"I was hoping at least a Government agency would at least pick me up and take me home. I was expecting that," he said.

"I ... was under the impression that at least they could come [and] take me out of here."

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had already said this week the Government would make no attempt to get him out of jail in Syria and into Turkey where there is a New Zealand embassy.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters went further than Ardern when asked about him this week.

"He burned his passport – there are consequences for doing that."

In the interview, Taylor said that was a mistake.

He also spoke at lengths about his multiple faiths over the years.

He said in 1994, he became a born-again Christian and moved back to New Zealand from Australia to "sort out my life".

But, after a "messy situation" with his then-wife, he became an atheist for 16 months in the late 1990s, before converting back to Christianity after that.

He converted to Islam in around 1999.

 

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