Kiwi Jihadi: ‘It turns out that freedom of speech is not allowed in New Zealand’

Mark Taylor, the “Kiwi Jihadi” who spent five years with the Islamic State in Syria, said he won’t return to New Zealand if he ever gets out of his Kurdish prison cell.

“The Islamic State imprisoned me for posting on social media,” said Taylor after his arrest by Kurdish forces in Syria. “Now it turns out that freedom of speech is not allowed in New Zealand, either.”

Officials in New Zealand have arrested at least two men for social media postings after the Christchurch terror attack that killed at least 50 people.

“We would like to remind people that it is an offense to distribute or possess an objectionable publication, which carries a penalty of imprisonment,” police said in a statement.

Taylor said he was “on holiday” when he was arrested by ISIS for his social media activity. “I just want to voice my freedom of speech, but now I’ll be arrested in New Zealand if I ever go back.”

He also said he feels “genuinely surprised” that his home country isn’t all that different from the Islamic State when it comes to speech.

“I left New Zealand because life wasn’t what I thought it should be. Then I found out that life in the Islamic State wasn’t what I thought it would be,” Taylor said. “It’s disappointing that my old life is so much like my new life.”

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