Page last updated at 14:11 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

London 7/7 bomber's mother-in-law speaks about attacks

Farida Patel
Mrs Patel's daughter was separated from Khan at the time of the bombings

The mother-in-law of the ringleader of the 7 July bombers has spoken publicly for the first time about the effect the attack had on her family.

Fifty-two people died when four men, including Farida Patel's son-in-law Mohammed Siddque Khan, bombed London's transport network on 7 July 2005.

Farida Patel, from Dewsbury, told an anti-racism conference in Bradford how police searched her family's homes.

She said her life "came falling down" when armed police knocked on her door.

I do not take for granted the freedom and rights that I enjoy in this country because I have seen how oppressive other regimes can be
Farida Patel

Mrs Patel said: "When I opened the curtains all I saw was armed police officers with guns looking at me.

"When they walked in I asked 'why are you here', they said they are investigating the 7 July bombings and they will need to search the premises.

"They told me, my son and my daughter-in-law to take a few essentials and find alternative accommodation for a few days. That turned into two weeks."

The home of Mrs Patel's daughter, who was separated from Khan at the time of the bombings, was also searched.

Mrs Patel told The Monitoring Group conference that it was the most "difficult times of our lives".

Family estranged

The community activist said she later sold her home because pictures of the house and its address had been printed in newspapers and shown on television, and she no longer felt safe there.

She said: "When I left my home in Thornhill with Scotland Yard officers in their car little did I know that it would be the last time I would be stepping out of the house, a little beautiful bungalow I had bought with my late husband as a retirement home."

Aftermath of 7 July bomb attacks
Fifty-two people were killed and more than 700 were injured in the attacks

Mrs Patel said family members had cut all contact with her afterwards, "in case they got linked to the bombings as well", and she had not spoken to them since.

She said her son, who was questioned by police in 2007 and later released without charge, had been confronted by people about the attack.

She said: "My son... was asked 'have you done your time in prison, you did not get much for 7/7'."

Mrs Patel said she had worked "tirelessly" for 30 years to help build community relations and "help the Muslim community to integrate into British society".

She added: "I consider myself to be a British Muslim and England is my home.

"I do not take for granted the freedom and rights that I enjoy in this country because I have seen how oppressive other regimes can be."



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SEE ALSO
Legal aid for all 7/7 survivors
10 Mar 10 |  London
Anger over 7/7 inquest 'insult'
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7/7 bombings memorial vandalised
20 Jul 09 |  London
Q and A: 7/7 bombing report
19 May 09 |  UK

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