Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Faryal Khan on family abuse: ‘I was bullied but no longer’

LONDON: Boxer Amir Khan’s wife has told of her nightmare living with his family, saying: “I was bullied but no longer.” Faryal Makhdoom, 25, claims she was slapped, had a remote control hurled at her and was cropped out of family photos. The catwalk model also alleges her “controlling” in-laws changed the locks to her and Amir’s room while they were away on a romantic break. She says they insisted she tell them if she was going shopping, and flew into a rage if she bared her skin, against Muslim law. Faryal hit out at his family in an expoksive Snapchat rant last week, saying: “When you force your son to divorce his wife, when she’s nine months pregnant! And your son doesn’t … and he sticks beside his wife, he’s called a p****? OK, I’m guessing Islam teaches us to get married and divorce our wives and treat them bad? “Don’t get your sons married if you’re going to abuse and bully the wife. I’ve always been so quiet but seriously this message is for everyone!” Speaking to The Sun on Sunday after the outburst, Faryal says: “I never felt I could do anything right. I was bullied physically and mentally. “One day I said, ‘Enough of this s***, I’m going to speak up. I’ve had it for three years and that’s enough’.’” She says ex-world champ Amir had also stood up to his family, adding: “My husband feels like a man now. He’s much happier and so am I.”

Faryal, born in New York to Pakistani parents, was a 21-year-old student when she married Amir in 2013. Soon after the lavish ceremony the couple moved into a Bolton bungalow he shared with mum Falak, dad Shah, brother Haroon, 25, and sister Mariyah, 19. She says: “It was a big culture shock being an American in this northern town. “There, they think you are a bad Muslim if you show a bit of skin. I felt like I didn’t fit in.” Faryal says when she and Amir went away for a few days early in the marriage she locked the door to their room. She adds: “It was our space and my things were inside but when I came back Amir’s parents would have changed the locks. They said it was their son’s room and that they were allowed access. “I don’t think they ever looked at anything inside – it was the principle. They had this attitude that their son was their everything and I was just an appendage. But we were man and wife and I should’ve been treated with respect.” She also clashed with Amir’s siblings. She claims: “When I went to do laundry on the other side of the house, his eldest sister Tabinda slammed the door on me.

“I said to Amir’s mum, ‘Is this fair? Tell your daughter this is wrong’. But she just brushed away my words. “Tabinda hit me and she threw a remote at me, which missed. Mariyah cropped me out of family photographs, which was hurtful, and has said nasty things about me.” More trouble erupted after she went to the wedding of Haroon, known as Harry, in August. Faryal says: “I remember grabbing Amir’s mother’s hand on the dancefloor. Harry later tweeted something about me not showing them respect at the wedding then he deleted it.” Faryal says she was made to follow petty rules while in the house. She says: “I used to go out shopping and I was quizzed, ‘How much are you spending? Why so much?’ “Even if I went to Asda, they’d ask why hadn’t I told them first. It was all about control. They’d say things like, ‘She sits at home all day and does nothing. She’s too modern’. “They were always telling on me. They’d say to Amir, ‘She didn’t come to our side of the house today’, or, ‘She wore sleeveless today’. “If I had been older I would have handled it better. “After a while, I just started to go quiet. I felt everyone thought that Amir Khan’s wife had this beautiful life. But I was miserable, depressed.” Faryal says even her pregnancy was dogged by anxiety, claiming her in-laws urged Amir to divorce her. She adds: “They would say things (to my parents) like, ‘Come and get her, she’s giving us problems’. “Amir didn’t know what I was going through.

“They said, ‘OK, every morning she has to be up by 8am and make breakfast for the whole family’. “What a cheap and humiliating thing to suggest. They were basically saying that’s all a daughter-in-law is good for.” Faryal even admitted she threatened to call police, adding: “When the locks got changed and when my sister-in-law threw the remote, I did say that. But I was scared his parents would convince Amir to divorce me if I called the police.” The rift exploded into the open last week when Faryal posted messages on Snapchat describing herself as the voice of “every abused woman”. She added in the posts: “There are many women who suffer in silence due to ill-treatment from the in-laws. This dark side is usually kept hidden.” She says her father-in-law no longer speaks to her. But while the feud made her feel some regret about marrying, she says she and Amir are now happier than ever. They and daughter Lamaisah, two, were in New York on Friday to promote the Amir Khan Foundation, which helps poor people worldwide. Speaking to The Sun on Sunday, her £100,000 engagement ring sparkling, Faryal says Amir had been 100 per cent supportive after her online rant. She adds: “He wants to keep the peace and I understand that. But I am free to speak out.” She believes jealousy was part of the problem, saying: “Amir was the eldest son, the money maker, and I was the outsider. Islam says the eldest son provides for his parents. “I’m happy for Amir to do that but he doesn’t have to do it for all his siblings. If he gave me a designer bag, he would have to do it for all the women in the family.”

Amir recently bought a house for his parents. Faryal adds: “I salute myself for sticking around but I’m American and one day I said, ‘Enough of this s***, I’m going to speak up’. “I wish for Amir’s sake we could get on. It’s ironic that his parents didn’t want him to slip out of their hands. Now he’s slipped out of them completely. “I don’t think we will ever get on. People say give it time but I just want to be happy with my husband and daughter. I want to have my life, they can have theirs.” Faryal also wants to be a role model for “bullied” Muslim women. She adds: “I was always quiet and I don’t think they thought I would speak up. But I now feel like a burden has been lifted. “I’ve had hatred from people who say I’m a terrible daughter-in-law but I’ve also had a lot of support. “I think there are millions of girls who have to live like slaves at home and not have lives of their own. I got bullied but no longer.”

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