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Kashmiri dad pleads with son to leave the path of Islamic State

The Kashmiri student, Ehtisham, was beaten up in Sharda University in Noida
Bilal Ahmed at his home in Srinagar on Saturday.
Bilal Ahmed at his home in Srinagar on Saturday.
PTI picture

Muzaffar Raina   |   Srinagar   |   Published 03.11.18, 09:06 PM

A Kashmiri boy who was beaten up in a Noida university and his father have been locked in a social media debate over the essence of Islam after the student disappeared and claimed to have joined the Islamic State.

For son Ehtisham, violent jihad is the gateway to heaven. For father Bilal Ahmed, Islam preaches that “paradise lies at the feet of your mother” and none who disobeys his parents shall enter it.

The worst fears of Bilal, a shopkeeper from Srinagar’s Khanyar locality, had come true on Friday when the missing Ehtisham purportedly released a picture accompanied by audio, announcing he had joined the Islamic State.

Ehtisham, a BSc student of medical imaging technology at Noida’s Sharda University, had disappeared last week, days after being thrashed by fellow students on the campus. He had apparently been mistaken for an Afghan during a clash between Afghan and Indian students on October 4.

The audio refers to the October 4 incident, alleging the attackers had pounced on Ehtisham for defending the Afghan students. It says he decided to join jihad that day, while claiming he had been ideologically influenced by jihad before that.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Sometimes seemingly small actions have huge consequences. If what happened to him at #ShardaUniversity has led him to choose such a destructive path, it’s even more tragic.”

On Saturday, Ethisham’s father Bilal uploaded a video where he is seen suggesting his son has not understood Islam properly. Ehtisham’s mother and sisters too are seen crying in the video.

Several parents had earlier made a similar plea on social media, but their sons largely ignored them and only their bodies returned.

In the video, Bilal is heard saying: “I heard your audio and was surprised and saddened that you were talking about Islam and faith, forgetting that Islam preaches that paradise lies at the feet of your mother while the father is described as the door to heaven. Islam has linked paradise to submission to parents, and it is strictly insisted not to disobey one’s parents.”

Bilal then makes a fervent appeal to his son. “I order you — no, I appeal to you — to return. I appeal to those with whom my son is staying, for God’s sake let him return. Have mercy on us; God will have mercy on you,” he says as he breaks down.

Friday’s audio was accompanied by a picture of Ehtisham in a black outfit, weapons strapped to his body and an Islamic State flag in the background.

Additional director-general of police Munir Khan said the authenticity of the audio and the picture were being verified.

Uttar Pradesh police have registered a first information report against 350 students of Sharda University for rioting.

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