He is dead to us: Father of youth who joined ISIS

  • Farhan Shaikh, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 10, 2016 00:06 IST

Majeed Abdul Kader, 63, whose son Ashfaque left from Kerala with his wife and infant daughter to join terrorist group ISIS, said he started noticing changes in his son’s behaviour two years ago.

“Ashfaque started growing a beard and grew very religious. He started saying hateful things against different sects. Before he left Kerala, he said he was going to Sri Lanka for further studies,” said Kader.

On Saturday, Kader registered a case against three people and one employee of the Islamic Research Foundation, the organisation of controversial preacher Zakir Naik.

Ashfaque’s mother continues crying and has not slept properly since. “She is a mother after all,” said Kader.

In July, Ashfaque’s younger brother received a message from him. The message was, “We are in Islamic country in Hijrah (known as prophet’s migration with his Islamic followers) and will not return. Take care of mother.”

A score of Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) officers have been visiting the lodge since. The lodge employees take care of the business as Kader shuttles between the two states -- at times to visit his worried family and sometimes with the ATS teams.

Ashfaque used to visit Navi Mumbai from Kerala to meet an IRF employee. “Ashfaque and other youths were learning under Haneef, a madrasa teacher. He was being radicalized. Abdul Rashid, a teacher with the peace international school, is responsible for brainwashing many. I don’t want others like Ashfaque to lose their path and get brainwashed into doing something like this,” Kader said.

Kader said, “I have read books but nowhere do they ask us to go to Hijrah, leaving parents alone. Who has taught the boys these new stories? Who is trying to bring in this new Islam?”

When asked if they hope Ashfaque would be reunited with them sometime in the future, Kader plainly said, “Even if he comes back, he is not my son. This country has not given us any trouble, why would he betray the country like this. He is dead to us.”

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