15 year Christian boy kidnapped, beaten and forced to become Muslim.
12 Dec 2003
Sindh. (BF) A 15-year-old Christian boy from the province of Sindh has been kidnapped and taken to an Islamic religious school where he was beaten and forced to become a Muslim.
Zeeshan Gill was kidnapped in broad daylight on the way home from schoo
Henceforth, his captors informed him, he was a Muslim and if he tried to run away or return to Christianity, they would kill him. He was made to fast daily. Furthermore his captors even started to give him training in the use of guns and grenades.
The mosque attached to the school informed his anxious mother, Razia, who works in the Civilian Hospital Sargodha, Sind, of his whereabouts three days later. She was informed that Zeeshan had willingly embraced Islam and would not be returning to her. In desperation she turned to local court officials who sent a bailiff to the madrasa. There he met Zeeshan and listened to his account, but the terrified boy simply repeated that he had converted willingly. The bailiff was not deterred and ordered the director of the madrasa to appear before court, with Zeeshan, on 14 November.
Razia was present at the court hearing that day. When she listened to her son give evidence, she was amazed to hear him reiterate, in the apparent safety of the courtroom, that he had embraced Islam of his own freewill and would only go home with her if she converted as well! Razia begged the judge to let her meet Zeeshan alone. The judge replied that would be fruitless as her son was clearly a sensible boy and, even though a minor, had the right to become a Muslim. Since this was an irrevocable decision, she was now powerless, the judge informed her, to do anything about it.
On 20 November Zeeshan was allowed to go home to collect his clothes; however the madrasa sent along an escort with him. Then four days later his captors told him that he was imminently to be sent on jihad in Kashmir, where he would have to "spread Islam at 120kph". His director let him go home to say his goodbyes - unaccompanied. It was at this point that Zeeshan felt able to reveal the truth to his mother, that he had been kidnapped, forcibly converted and held against his would.
The family immediately fled southwards, where they were put in contact with the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) in Lahore, who in turn informed Barnabas Fund of Zeeshan's case.