Bomber's family at Palace

Evening Standard (London),  Jul 15, 2005  by CHRIS MILLAR

THIS IS the family of Edgware Road suicide bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan pictured at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

They are his mother-in-law Farida Patel, father-in-law Abdul Aslam and their daughter Hasina, Khan's wife.

A pillar of the community, Mrs Patel taught at a local secondary school and said police officers would often come to her house for advice and information about the local Asian community.

In 1998 she became the first Asian woman to attend a Palace garden party.

Today she was being guarded by police in a safe house as forensics detectives continued to comb her home for clues.

She was described by friends as "shattered", while Hasina - Khan's pregnant wife - was "inconsolable".

While her son-in-law embarked on a suicide mission in London, her own background is that of a community leader desperately trying to build bridges.

She is the daughter of Ismail Patel, an antiapartheid campaigner who died in 1973 after spending 10 years under house arrest in South Africa for his part in the struggle to overthrow the racist regime.

Her community work also led to an invitation to Downing Street, where she received an award for her work for the Inner City Religious Council at a ceremony in 1999, hosted by Tony Blair. The local newspaper says she "rubbed shoulders" on that occasion with the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon.

At the time of the Buckingham Palace photo, Mrs Patel said: "I got very close to the Queen. I let her go past because there were people in wheelchairs in front of me. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be treated like a VIP and it felt like I was in another world. I've helped the community in various ways but I never show people what I'm doing. I just do it because the need is there and I want to help. If my father was alive he would have been proud."

Mrs Patel, who taught at Dewsbury's Birkdale High School until two years ago and served on the local police forum, added: "I am very well known in the Asian parts of Dewsbury and police often come to my house for advice."

Today Khizar Iqbal, a family friend, said Mrs Patel phoned him to ask for help when officers arrived at her house in Dewsbury. "She was distressed and wanted my help. This has been the most tragic thing I have experienced. It was shocking and dreadful," he said.

The family are now facing up to the reality that Khan had been planning the attacks for months, perhaps years, and had lived a double life.

In recent months he had taken long periods off work at Hillside Primary School, and another in Dewsbury, claiming he had depression. Local residents said they believed he used that time to attend a religious training camp in Lahore, Pakistan, believed to be the one attended by fellow bomber Shehzad Tanweer.

Friends in Dewsbury said Hasina, who is four months pregnant, had no suspicion of her husband's involvement.

One said: "She is in a police safe house and is in a state of desperation.

What future does she have now? She must face the loathing of many people in her community, the loss of her husband, the realisation he was a brutal murderer and the knowledge she must bring up two children alone."

Though Khan, 30, had been living in Dewsbury, 15 miles outside Leeds, he grew up in the same povertystricken streets as Tanweer, 22, and the youngest bomber, Hasib Hussain, 18, in the city's Beeston area.

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