A 15-year-old Pakistani Christian boy was kidnapped and taken to a strict Islamic religious school where he was beaten to submission and forced to declare he is a Muslim, according to an international aid group.
Zeeshan Gill from Sind province was captured in daylight while on his way home from school Nov. 7, reported the Assist News Service, or ANS, citing the British-based Barnabas Fund.
Gill ended up in a madrasa where his captors forced him to say the Islamic creed and declared he is a Muslim. They warned if he tried to flee or return to Christianity, they would kill him.
The teen was made to fast daily, and his captors trained him in the use of guns and grenades, ANS said.
The mosque affiliated with the school did not inform Gill’s mother, Razia, until three days later, the news service said. She was told her son became a Muslim of his own will and that he would not return to her.
The mother turned to local court officials who sent a bailiff to the madrasa to interview Zeeshan. The boy insisted his conversion was voluntary, but the bailiff decided to order the school’s director to appear in court with Zeeshan Nov. 14.
To his mother’s amazement, Zeeshan testified in court he had willingly become a Muslim and would go home with her only if she also converted.
The judge turned down Razia’s request to meet alone with her son, stating he was a sensible boy who had a right to convert, even though he is a minor.
The decision was irrevocable, the judge said to the boy’s mother, and she was now powerless to do anything about it.
The madrasa allowed Zeeshan to return home Nov. 20, with an escort, to collect his clothes.
Four days later, the teen was informed he was about to be sent on a jihad in Kashmir, where he would have to “spread Islam at 120 kilometers per hour.”
Zeeshan’s director let him return home once more to say goodbye, but this time without an escort.
At this point, Zeeshan felt free to reveal the truth to his mother, ANS said, finally confessing he had been kidnapped, forcibly converted and held against his will.
The family immediately fled south where they came in touch with an advocacy group called the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, in Lahore.