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Man threatened to 'blow up' Kensington shop for selling Charlie Hebdo magazine

Shamim Ahmed, 25, admitted making menacing threats to staff at a French bookshop in South Kensington in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre

Shamim Ahmed pictured outside court

A Muslim who threatened to bomb a bookshop for selling Charlie Hebdo magazine just days after the deadly terror attack in France is facing jail.

Shamim Ahmed, 25, a former security guard, sent an email to The French Bookshop, in South Kensington, on January 17 with the subject line: ‘Protect your neck while you are still alive’.

Ahmed accused the bookshop of selling the satirical magazine “against Muslims” and said they would face “major retaliation” if they continued to stock it, a court heard.

A day before the alleged threat, owner Robert Zaigue had told a journalist: “If they want to blow the place up, they’ll blow the place up. Those people don’t scare me, we’re not going to let them scare us.”

Ahmed then made two threatening phone calls to the shop on January 22, telling the owner: “I’m going to come and stab you, I’m going to come right away and blow up the shop. I’m not afraid of the police, I’m a Muslim.”

It followed the massacre of 12 people during a raid on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7.

The publishers said that they wanted to proceed with the next edition of the magazine and the proceeds would be given to the victims of the massacre.

On January 16, the owner of the French Bookshop in London said that he was, despite the controversy, going to stock the magazine.

The following day Ahmed emailed the shop to warn: “We will not allow our prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, to be ridiculed. If we ever find out that your shop is selling Charlie Hebdo magazine you will face major retaliation.”

'Scared to death'

Prosecutor Kodi Kara told Westminster Magistrates’ Court that the staff member responsible for dealing with emails immediately realised it was going to be a threatening email from the subheading.

And five days later, Ahmed’s mobile phone was used to make two calls to the bookshop at 4.17pm.

Miss Kara said: “In the first call, the person who has made the call was sounding very nervous and asked if they were still selling copies of the magazine. He said: ‘You are selling this against Muslims’, and she realised this was another threat being made.

“On the second call, he said: ‘I’m going to come and stab you, I’m going to come right away and blow up the shop, I’m not afraid of the police, I’m a Muslim'.”

When told that he was speaking to a woman, he replied: “I don’t care.”

The prosecutor told the court: “She said she was scared to death, he sounded very determined.”

Ahmed, of Bigland Street, Tower Hamlets, admitted two counts of sending malicious communications.

Following an appeal from the defendant’s mother and sister, District Judge Quentin Purdy granted him conditional bail and told him to cooperate fully with the probation team as they prepare a report ahead of sentence on November 9.

Ahmed is forbidden from contacting the French Bookshop or any members of staff and must not enter the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea or leave the area surrounded by the M25 while on bail.

He will be fitted with an electronic tag and must observe a curfew from 10pm-4am and report daily to Bethnal Green police station between 12noon-4pm.

Journalists

Salina Patel
Hounslow
Katherine Clementine
Uxbridge
David Rivers
Ealing
Goolistan Cooper
Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster
Ryan O'Donovan
Harrow and Brent
Robert Cumber
Hounslow
Emily Chudy
What's On Reporter
Matt Lewis
Sports Reporter
Tom Moore
Sports Reporter
Tim Street
Deputy Sports Editor
Paul Warburton
Sports Reporter