The only known Kiwi faces of the Islamic State cause are a bumbling self-proclaimed Jihadi fighting in Syria and a Hawke’s Bay man listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims.
Earlier this year, Kiwi Jihadi Mark Taylor posted a YouTube video urging terrorist acts on New Zealand soil, telling Isis sympathisers: “Now is the time to commence your operations, even if it means you have to stab a few police officers, soldiers on Anzac Day and so be it.”
He added: “sending your troops here is the biggest mistake again….we’re waiting for you.”
Taylor is one of a handful of New Zealanders known to be fighting for Isis in Syria. He burnt his New Zealand passport after crossing the border from Turkey but later contacted New Zealand authorities in an attempt to get a new one.
Also known as Abu Abdul-Rahman and various other names, Taylor made it to Syria despite being on a terror suspect list which was supposed to restrict his ability to travel. But he made world headlines when it was revealed he forgot to turn off his location service on his Twitter account, giving intelligence agencies valuable information on his movements. Taylor’s tweets also clearly identified other Isis militants, earning him a nickname as the “bumbling Jihadi”.
A Hawke’s Bay Muslim, Te Amorangi Kireka-Whaanga, has also been named previously as openly supporting Isis.
Head of the Aotearoa Maori Muslim Association, he was named one of the world’s most influential Muslims by a group in Jordan.
He said last year he understood Islamic State actions and “if you practise your religion then of course you’ll be 100 per cent behind Islamic State”.
But he said he was not a violent man and while police had spoken to him a number of times for fear he was “going to blow up people”, they were reassured after speaking to him because “I’m not like that”