Danish Woman's Passport Is Seized After She Joined Kurdish Militia To Fight ISIS

| by Jordan Smith
Joanna Palani with fellow peshmerga soldiersJoanna Palani with fellow peshmerga soldiers

Authorities in Denmark have reportedly seized the passport of a 22-year-old woman who traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) last year.

Joanna Palani, who moved to Denmark as a Kurdish refugee at age 3, joined peshmerga forces in the defense of the Syrian city of Kobane, The Local Denmark reported. Peshmerga are the military forces of Kurdistan.

Palani returned to Denmark after Islamic State fighters had been driven out of the city.

“The police and PET [the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, ed.] have taken my passport and forbidden me from leaving Denmark," Palani wrote on her Facebook page during the weekend of Oct. 24-25, according to The Local. "That puts me in the dilemma that I cannot continue my service down there as a soldier."

Her passport was taken under Denmark’s foreign fighter law, which prohibits anyone from traveling abroad to fight for terrorist organizations. She has also been banned from traveling for a year, which took effect on Sept. 29.

“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 asked in her Facebook post.

The law was adopted in March. But until now, it has only been used against Danes who have gone to fight for the Islamic State.

Danish justice minister Soren Pind defended the measure, describing it in an interview as “very clear.”

In an interview Palani gave to the Danish daily Politiken last year, she explained what concerned her about traveling to Iraq.

“I fear that if I go down there, if someone goes down there, and comes back – after fighting for the rights of the Kurds and for Kobane – I fear that the Danish authorities will come after them and it will have major consequences,” she said at the time.

Palani has announced her intention to challenge the intelligence agency’s decision in court.

“I love Denmark. I grew up here and I love the freedom of our society,” Palani said last year, according to Daily Mail.

“If Denmark should ever be attacked, I will go to the front-line with a Danish flag around my shoulders,” she added. “But I have Kurdish family, and right now it is the Kurds who are being attacked by brainwashed Islamists.”

Sources: Daily Mail, The Local Denmark / Photo credit: Facebook via The Local Denmark,