Mark Taylor, an ISIS recruit once known as the ‘bumbling Jihadi’ wants to come home to NZ. Or, at least get the hell out of the Syrian jail cell he’s currently occupying.
The Kiwi, a former soldier here in NZ, served ISIS as a guard. Or so he says, anyway. ‘I was just a guard’ has a familiar ring; it was the defence of just about everybody that ever worked in a Nazi concentration camp.
There has been a lot of teeth gnashing on the right about his potential return. There are some who think we shouldn’t issue him a fresh passport so it’s harder for him to return and even some who think we should strip Taylor of citizenship altogether.
That’s a step down a very slippery slope.
If we start denying citizenship to Kiwis who offend us, we’ll be joining a club that includes some of the world’s most oppressive states.
Far better to assist in bringing Taylor back, put him through the justice system, and then rehab him so he’s an object lesson to others who are easily led.
Of course it might be a while before he returns. First he’s got to get out of jail, find a Kiwi consulate and then find a passage back to NZ. I assume that’ll be by boat, because there won’t be many airlines willing to fly him back downunder.
Just to be clear, I have no sympathy for the man. The ‘bumbling Jihadi’ tag masks the reality. He chose to fight for ISIS, a fascistic religious terror group. He did so for self serving reasons.
And also for self serving reasons, he is very, very unlikely to detail any specific crimes he committed.
Mark Taylor should be in jail for a long, long time.
The question is whether we as a country make any effort to have that jail time served here or leave him to rot in Syria.
I think, as a civilised country, we should assume an obligation to the international community and look to clean up our own mess.
It’s the same feeling I have about Aussie 501ers deported to NZ. Australia made those criminals, and Australia should be responsible for them.
Taylor is one of ours, so we should do whatever we can to get him out of Syria and safely into our justice system.
It’s not just force of arms that defeats fascist ideologies.
Showing ourselves to be part of a morally and ethically superior way of living is equally important.
And that means showing Mark Taylor some tough love here in NZ whether we think he deserves it or not.