A New Zealander who said he traveled to Syria for a jihad “adventure” now wants to leave the war-torn country, but is faced with a challenge: obtaining a new passport after he burned his old one in protest.
Mark John Taylor, who goes by the name Mohammad Daniel but is also known as Abu Abdul-Rahman, traveled to Syria in June, entering through the Turkish border, the New Zealand Herald reported.
"I come to Syria as a soldier for Allah," he told the Herald over the summer. In social media postings, he described himself as an "adventurer living in Syria. I have no links to any groups. I'm independent, living under good care by Muslim brothers.”
Earlier this year, Taylor posted a photo online of himself holding a machine gun as well as an image of his burned New Zealand passport, saying he was on a "one-way trip.”
He once told the newspaper the Australian that he had joined Al Qaeda.
The Australian reported that besides no longer possessing his passport, Taylor could face criminal charges should he ever return to his native country.
Taylor said in an interview this week with the New Zealand blog Aotearoa Independent Media Centre that he was planning to leave Syria next month.
He said he hadn’t yet received a reply to his request for a new passport.
Asked if he had broken any international laws, Taylor was quoted as saying, “No, I only went there for adventure jihad, but along the way I realized Syria is in a very dire need of humanity aid and support.”
He asserted that the Muslims in Syria and Iraq “want peace” but can’t achieve it while Western nations attack “innocent Muslims.”
Taylor said he does not plan to return to New Zealand.
The Australian reported in July that Taylor was already subject to travel restrictions, while New Zealand’s 3News reported that New Zealand had once canceled his passport.
Some reports suggested he may also have possessed an Australian passport.
In a July video posted on YouTube, Taylor declared, "I am a New Zealander known as Mark John Taylor, my current location is in Syria and my commitment is for jihad, for Allah and his messenger."
In July, he told the New Zealand Herald on Sunday that he would stay in Syria until he reached “martyrdom.”
Taylor was arrested in Pakistan in 2009 when he tried to travel to Waziristan, The Australian reported.
He told a TV3 news show that he was simply trying to look for a wife.
"I didn't have a death wish I was just looking for a lady for marriage,” he said in 2011.
"It was my mistake. People might call me stupid and dumb for making that mistake but that's my problem," he said.
(H/T: Daily Mail)