Khan’s family speaks out

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THE family of the ringleader of the July 7 bomb plot has spoken of how her life fell apart after the terrorism attack.

Mohammad Sidique Khan was living in Dewsbury when he planned the attacks on London’s transport network that killed 52 people.

His mother-in-law, Farida Patel, was known to many in Dewsbury for her interfaith work. This week she told the BBC how her world collapsed when details of Khan’s involvement in the plot emerged.

On July 12, a week after the bombings, officers from Scotland Yard raided Ms Patel’s home in Thornhill Park Avenue, as well as Khan’s house in Lees Holm, Thornhill Lees.

She said: “I said ‘Why my house, why search my house?’ and when they told me it was my daughter’s husband, I was shocked.”

Khan was originally from Leeds and married Ms Patel’s daughter, Hasina, in 2001. They first lived in Batley, then moved to Thornhill Lees.

He kept close links to the community where he grew up in Leeds however, and it was there that Khan pushed his extremist views through his work in a local Islamic bookshop.

Khan’s family was devastated to hear that he led Shehzad Tanweer, Hasib Hasan and Germaine Lindsay in the attack.

Ms Patel said: “As his mother-in-law I suffered a lot of harassment.

“I had to leave the beautiful bungalow I had moved into ready for my retirement, and even until today I have been unable to go back there.

“I have never wanted to go back because it holds such bad memories for me and my family. I have not even been to that area where I had lived since coming to live in the UK.”

Ms Patel moved to the UK from South Africa in 1967.

She was the first Asian woman to be invited to a Buckingham Palace garden party as a member of the Inner City Religious Council.

As a community liaison officer, she worked at Birkdale High School and had links to Eastborough School, Carlton School, Headfield School and Flatts Nursery.

She appeared publicly in March 2010, at a conference in Bradford on race, religion and rights organised by The Monitoring Group.

But she said that she had permanently given up all of her community work and had become more reclusive, wearing a full hijab when in public.

Her son, Arshad Patel, also spoke to the BBC. He and his sister Hasina were arrested during the police’s investigation but released without charge.

Mr Patel told how he got to know Khan well when they became brothers-in-law.

He said: “He struck me as a normal everyday guy, so when Mohammad Sidique Khan’s name came up [in connection with the bombings] I was speechless.

“A lot of people do tend to put you in a box and say you were a friend, or from the family of ‘that terrorist’.

“The community do treat you differently at first. But now they’re all very supportive.

“When something like this happens it’s not only affected us but everyone living close by, and it’s very unfair to label us like that when we do not support such actions.”