A Muslim man was arrested yesterday morning after trying to purchase a bag of fertiliser- a commonly used component for homemade bombs- from Homebase, the gardening and DIY giant that stocks the explosive compound in large amounts.
Police were summoned to the store in Reigate, Surrey by an astute cashier when Ali Haq placed the deadly manure on the checkout counter. ‘I remember reading an article about fertiliser being used in bombs’, said Kelly Holt, 22, who began work at the store only three weeks ago. ‘I thought, “what could he be doing with that?” Then I noticed he was a bit dark and thought, “he's probably a Muslim”, and then it was obvious.’
Store manager Richard Myers praised Miss Holt's quick thinking: ‘We're all very proud of Kelly. In today's society we're under constant threat from terrorism, which, as we know, is entirely down to the Muslims. It's easy to miss one, thinking he might be a Hindu or a Sikh, or just a beardy bloke, but Kelly didn't miss a trick and has probably prevented a large-scale terrorist attack.’
The arrest has sent ruffles through the Reigate community. Members of Reigate Cricket Club, where Mr. Haq works as a grounds keeper, were shocked: ‘We just can't get over it’, said one. ‘Old Man Ali, a terrorist. He comes across as such a decent chap, always happy, loves his job, certainly keeps this place looking ship-shape; just the other day he was talking about planting a load of geraniums around the clubhouse. I suppose it just goes to show, you simply can't trust the Muslims.’
Serious questions are now being raised for the gardening franchise, which faces accusations of supporting terrorism by stockpiling fertiliser. Some are fearful of how accessible the centres are to Muslims and are calling for on-the-spot checks of garden sheds accross the country, to monitor how much fertiliser any one household owns. But others, such as Arthur Mallet, oppose such measures, regarding them as an invasion of privacy: ‘What I grow in my garden is my business. I don’t want the government snooping around my busy lizzies, it’s none of their concern.’
Home Secretary Teresa May has said that a full investigation is needed before any such bill can be considered, maintaining that links between Homebase and previous terrorist attacks are unclear at this stage.