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Family who 7/7 bomber Khan left behind

WHEN Mohammed Siddique Khan, the ringleader of the July 7 terror cell, blew himself up he left behind a pregnant young wife, Hasina, and a baby daughter.

The couple had met in the mid-1990s when he was studying for a business degree at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Their daughter was born in May 2004 – a little over a year before Khan went to London with his backpack bomb.

Despite some initial disapproval from their families – Hasina Patel is a British Muslim of Indian descent and he was of Pakistani descent – they married on October 2, 2001.

Both developed an interest in helping disadvantaged young people. He took on part-time youth and community work before graduating with a 2:2 in business studies and later she became a community enrichment officer, working in schools with special needs pupils.

In the year that they married, Khan started working as a learning mentor at Hillside Primary School in Beeston, Leeds.

Hasina Patel comes from a family with a strong tradition of community involvement, charity work and activism.

Her mother is Farida Patel, a well-known community activist and charity worker in Kirklees who in the late 1990s was a co-opted member of the Government's council of religious leaders.

After marrying, the couple shared a house with Mrs Patel in Dewsbury.

In July 2004, a year before her son-in-law's terrorism attack, Farida Patel was a guest of the Queen at a Buckingham Palace garden party. Her daughter and husband, who has since died, were by her side.

At the event Farida Patel received an award for her work at a Dewsbury school as a teacher specialising in bilingual studies.

It was not her first visit to the Palace. In 1998 she made history as the first Asian woman to attend a garden party there, meeting the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Tony Blair and Prince Charles.

Farida Patel herself comes from a tradition of activism. Her father was the prominent anti-apartheid activist Ismail Patel, who died in 1973 after 10 years under house arrest in South Africa.

She moved to England about 30 years ago and married Abdul-Salaam Patel here in the early 1980s. He died in April 2004.

At the time of the attacks in July 2005, Farida Patel's daughter was in the early stages of pregnancy – which Khan was aware of and had told friends about.

All three – Khan, his wife and her mother – had lived in a three-bed bungalow on Thornhill Park Avenue in Dewsbury.

Immediately after the bombings Farida Patel, who is in her late 60s and retired, is believed to have moved out and stayed away from her former home, which had been raided by anti-terror police.

At the time friends said Mrs Patel was "devastated" by the actions of her son-in-law. The grandmother, who had worked so tirelessly to promote peace and understanding in her home town and beyond, was said to have "no idea" that her own son-in-law harboured such malice.

At the time, Bishop of Pontefract Tony Robinson, a personal friend of Farida Patel, said: "It was a big shock for her to find out. She has worked tirelessly to open doors and build bridges.

"When I went to see her, she was devastated. She had no idea at all. And we need to keep Farida and her family in our prayers.

"They feel terrible about what has happened."

Birmingham: Student hall of residence targeted

police raided a university halls of residence and a terraced home in Selly Oak, Birmingham.

Nisha Karwal, a third-year biological sciences student who lives in Victoria Hall, a complex of flats, said: "We saw the police outside the flats at around 8am.

"I saw a police van and about four officers not in uniform who were coming in and out of the P block.

"We didn't think it was to do with terrorism at all."

Miss Karwal, from west London, said she thought the silver Peugeot which was towed away earlier by police belonged to an Asian girl involved with the university's cricket society.

Victoria Hall has high gates for security, located very close to the University of Birmingham and is close to a gun and rifle factory.

Police also searched a property on Leonard Road in the Handsworth area of Birmingham. A silver Astra was towed away from outside the property. One neighbour said a family of five lived there, including two men in their 20s and a girl.

He said: "They are a really nice family. The mother is a fantastic woman and the father very quiet. I do not know the boys that well but I believe one of them works for the Post Office."

He said the family had lived there for more than 20 years.

Beeston: Shock and disbelief over arrest of 'a lovely lad'

BEESTON was reeling once again yesterday after yet more raids in connection with the July 7 suicide attacks on London.

Just six weeks after officers swooped on homes in the area in an operation which led to three Beeston men becoming the first to be charged in connection with the atrocities, two more homes were searched yesterday and one man with connections to both arrested.

Neighbours on Tempest Road spoke with disbelief that Khalid Khaliq could have had any knowledge of the 2005 bombings. But they said it was not the first time the jobless father, who is estranged from his wife, has had his home raided by anti-terror officers – it was searched in 2005 in the weeks following the attacks on the London transport system.

Mr Khaliq is said to have frequented the Iqra Islamic bookshop on nearby Bude Road, which became the centre of police investigations.

One neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said yesterday: "The police were here after 7/7, when the whole of Beeston seemed to be taped off. They didn't find a thing back then, so I don't know what they're going to find now."

The woman went on: "Khalid's a lovely lad – I'm convinced he wouldn't hurt anyone."

The rundown terrace is yards from the house where bomber Shehzad Tanweer lived. Further up the same road lies the second house raided.

That house, another terrace, is believed to be owned by relatives of Mr Khaliq, who have lived there for almost 20 years.

Brenda Gough, who has lived next door for 10 years, said: "An Asian family live there, but I don't have much to do with them.".

"A few people live in there – I would say two or three generations including children and a couple of young lads.

Batley: Detained man 'seemed a normal, pleasant fella'

NEIGHBOURS said Arshad Patel, one of the detained men, had lived in Hayburn Gardens, Batley, for less than a year.

He is understood to live there with his family. Residents said he was always polite on the rare occasions people saw him out and about but very few knew him or saw him around a lot.

One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said Arshad Patel had a beard and wore traditional Muslim dress.

Another resident said: "He seemed a normal, pleasant fella."

One woman, said she had seen young Asian men coming and going from the house in Hayburn Gardens.

Neighbours said he lived at the house, with his wife and children. Yesterday a colourful children's plastic swing could be seen in the garden of the small brick house on the council estate.

Local residents said police arrived just after 7am yesterday.

Marion McDaid, who lives opposite said: "I looked out at about 7.20am and saw the police." Her partner Wayne Hinchliffe added: "I saw two cars being loaded onto the back of two wagons.

"We have seen people coming and going but we do not know exactly who lives there."

Another neighbour said the police were quiet. He only noticed them because he went out to get a newspaper.

Jonathan Hooley, who lives nearby, said he had seen children playing in the garden when he walked past the Patel home.

He said: "There's a few Asian families living on the estate but it's mainly white."

Bomber's widow and brother arrested

 
 
 

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