Anguished family seeks help in finding son
Published Monday, August 24, 2009 6:01PM EDT
A Toronto father burst into tears as he made an appeal for people to help find his son, who was apparently taken at gunpoint on the weekend.
"Furqan is a lovely boy. Everybody loves him in the community," Haroon Muhammad told a Monday news conference about Furqan Muhammad-Haroon, 22.
"I don't know what his condition is now. I don't know if he's alive," he said, breaking down. "I know the Toronto police are doing their best, but I'm appealing to all of you, I'm appealing to all Canadians, please come forward if you know anything about my boy ... We want him back."
Added Farhana Haroon, the young man's mother: "Please give my boy back."
They had spent 22 hours flying back from Dubai, where they had been on a family vacation, to return home to deal with this crisis.
Police say three men armed with a firearm forced Furqan off the road near Midwest Road and Midland Avenue at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Furqan had told a friend he was being chased.
The green 2003 Mazda Green MPV van was located shortly afterwards, although police won't say exactly where.
Police describe Furqan as brown, 5'10", 181 pounds. He has black eyes and black, short, wavy hair. He has a beard with no moustache and wears eye glasses. He had last been seen wearing a blue, long-sleeved crew-neck shirt and dark blue jeans.
Shazad Siddiqui, the family's lawyer, said police have asked the family members to be "very circumspect" in answering questions about the investigation itself.
The family did say no one has contacted them with a ransom demand.
"We fail to understand what they want to do do with him," Haroon said.
He said the kidnapping occurred at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "It's like a month of peace, so let's be in a peaceful atmosphere," he said, adding members of his community were praying to God for Furqan's safe return.
Furqan is a University of Toronto electrical engineering student who, according to his friends, has never been involved in anything illicit. He is an observant Muslim who worships at the Islamic Institute of Toronto.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-4100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).