The incident I wrote about Monday was not isolated. Clearly it was a planned initiative, ordered by — whom? Will there be an investigation now? Or will Sharia UK slip just this much further into the darkness, and let these officials who are collecting information on violators of Sharia blasphemy laws pass unrebuked?
“Police from several UK forces seek details of Charlie Hebdo readers,” by Josh Halliday and Shiv Malik, the Guardian, February 10, 2015:
Several British police forces have questioned newsagents in an attempt to monitor sales of a special edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine following the Paris attacks, the Guardian has learned.
Officers in Wiltshire, Wales and Cheshire have approached retailers of the magazine, it has emerged, as concerns grew about why police were attempting to trace UK-based readers of the French satirical magazine.
Wiltshire police apologised on Monday after admitting that one of its officers had asked a newsagent to hand over the names of readers who bought a special “survivors’ issue” of the magazine published after its top staff were massacred in Paris last month.
The case in Corsham, Wiltshire, was thought to be an isolated incident but it has since emerged that Cheshire constabulary and Dyfed-Powys police have also approached newsagents over the sale of Charlie Hebdo.
In at least two cases – in Wiltshire and in Presteigne, Wales – officers have requested that newsagents hand over the names of customers who bought the magazine.
“This is so ridiculous as to be almost laughable. And it would be funny if it didn’t reflect a more general worrying increase in abuse of police powers in invading privacy and stifling free speech in Britain,” said Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of free expression campaign group Index on Censorship.
“Does possessing a legally published satirical magazine make people criminal suspects now? If so, I better confess that I too have a copy of Charlie Hebdo.”
Paul Merrett, 57, the owner of a newsagent in Presteigne, Wales, said a detective and a police community support officer from Dyfed-Powys police spent half an hour asking his wife Deborah, 53, about the magazine.
“They wanted to know about Charlie Hebdo. They came in unannounced and we had customers,” he said. “There were questions asking where we got the Charlie Hebdo copies from, did we know who we sold them to – which we didn’t say. We were a bit bemused because it was out of the blue.”
“My wife said, ‘Am I in trouble?’ because she thought she was in trouble for selling them. They said, ‘No, you’re not in trouble’ but just continued with their questioning for half an hour.”
Merrett added: “It was all about Charlie Hebdo. I guess they wanted names and addresses of people we sold them to, which we didn’t tell them anything like that. We sold 30 copies.
“My wife was a bit worried with the questioning but she certainly wouldn’t have given any names to the police. I’m shocked they asked. They wanted to know where we got the copies from, how did we let the customers know that we had them.”…