Fawaz Al-Qutaifan, a 6-year-old Syrian child, whose video of him going through brutal torture at the hands of his merciless kidnappers went viral shortly after the shock of the Muslim world with the death of Moroccan child Rayan last Saturday.
Unidentified individuals on motorcycles kidnapped Fawaz Al-Qutaifan whilst he was on his way to school in the village of Ibtaa in rural Daraa, Syria, three months ago. His kidnappers then sent a video to the family of Fawaz laying on the ground only in his underpants being brutally lashed as Fawaz begs them “For the sake of Allah, don’t hit me”.
Fawaz’s uncle, Musab Al-Qutaifan, said that the kidnappers demanded a ransom of 500 million Syrian pounds, the equivalent to around $143,000 by Wednesday, 9 February. If the ransom was not sent they threatened to amputate Fawaz’s fingers. The heart breaking video of Fawaz shared on social media caused an online campaign to launch with people around the world calling for efforts to be made for his release.
The video of his torture started to rapidly circulate under the hashtags #SaveFawaz, #SaveFawazAlQatifan and #أنقذواالطفلفواز_القطيفان. His story made top post in the search engines on social media, especially due to it coinciding with the death of Rayan, who died after he was trapped in a well for 5 days. The hashtag #Rayan was also used for Fawaz as it was already trending, so it rose more awareness of the plight of young Fawaz.
Some days after his story began to circulate on social media, the father of Fawaz published a video. In the video, Fawaz’s father said that the money to free his son had been collected & that Fawaz should be freed soon. He also requested that people refrain from donating to any fundraisers that may be out there in the name of freeing his son.
The video brought a sense of relief, but until Fawaz is completely freed from captivity, the pain and distress at the thought of the torture that innocent Fawaz is experiencing right now will continuously remain in the hearts of his family.
However, there is a fear that paying the ransom in such a public case may give rise to other criminals gangs to try the same.