A 22-year-old Danish woman, who dropped out of university to travel to Iraq to fight against the Islamic State (Isis), had her passport confiscated by Danish police in Copenhagen. Joanna Palani, who is of Kurdish descent, had traveled back to Denmark for a break from fighting in Kobane, Syria, which also goes by Ayn al-Arab.
According to the Daily Mail, Palani was one of many Westerners who decided to join the fight against IS in Syria and Iraq. Syrian Kurds in Kobane, with the aid of Iraqi Peshmerga troops and US and Arab coalition warplanes were able to force out IS militants out of the centre of the city. The city is now undergoing reconstruction, allowing Palani some time to return home.
However, once she returned to Denmark to take a brief break from fighting, Palani said she had her passport seized by police and the Danish intelligence service PET. "They have forbidden me from leaving Denmark. That puts me in the dilemma that I cannot continue my service down there as a soldier," she reportedly said, according to the Daily Mail.
Palani, who has lived in Denmark since she was three years old, said she did not understand why Danish officials were punishing her under the new "foreign fighter" laws intended to deter Danes from joining terror organisations. She allegedly said: "How can I pose a threat to Denmark and other countries by being a soldier in an official army that Denmark trains and supports directly in the fight against the Islamic State?"
Palani has posted several photographs of herself on the frontline on Facebook, including one of herself wearing military fatigues, a bulletproof vest as she carries a large assault rifle, the Daily Mail reported. She reportedly captioned the photo with a threat against IS militants: "See you on the frontline tomorrow". However, the photo was not on her Facebook account at the time of publishing.
Minister of Justice Soren Pind told Berlingske, a Danish national daily, that the country's foreign fighter law was "very clear" but implied that Palani could appeal the decision in court. Palani said she will appeal.
In a 2014 interview she claimed: "I love Denmark. I grew up here and I love the freedom of our society. If Denmark should ever be attacked, I will go to the frontline with a Danish flag around my shoulders. But I have Kurdish family, and right now it is the Kurds who are being attacked by brainwashed Islamists."