Pakistani folk singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was filmed engaging in a violent altercation with a backing singer while on tour in the United States. The incident, which took place in a hotel in Houston, Texas, last year, has sparked widespread dismay, particularly because Khan serves as an ambassador for the British Asian Trust, an organization founded by King Charles to combat domestic violence among other initiatives.
The distressing footage reveals Khan, a revered figure in the Indian subcontinent and among Britain’s Asian community, attacking the younger band member with a slipper and pulling him by his hair. The altercation reportedly began over a missing bottle, which Khan later clarified was a “spiritual water” bottle given to him by a holy figure, not liquor as initially speculated by some.
Khan’s acknowledgment of the assault, under the guise of disciplining his student, has drawn criticism and raised ethical questions, considering his ambassadorial role with the British Asian Trust. The Trust, established by King Charles in 2007, aims to address poverty and foster community relations, with a significant focus on mental health and domestic violence in India and Pakistan.
This incident stands in stark contrast to Khan’s esteemed career and public image. Known for his mesmerizing performances and contributions to both Bollywood and Hollywood soundtracks, Khan has enjoyed international acclaim, including sold-out shows in prestigious venues and collaborations with high-profile figures. His work, deeply rooted in the Sufi tradition of Qawwali music, has often been associated with spirituality and peace, making this act of violence all the more shocking.
The British Asian Trust has responded to the incident, stating that they take accusations of abuse seriously and intend to investigate the matter urgently.