Umar Haque became fascinated by the Westminster terrorist attack in March last year and discussed bringing his own death squad to London.
Umar Haque became fascinated by the Westminster terrorist attack in March last year and discussed bringing his own death squad to London. Stefan Rousseau

Teacher tried to train children for IS attacks

AN UNQUALIFIED teacher in the UK has been convicted of trying to recruit an "army of children” to launch a series of Islamic State-inspired attacks on dozens of targets across London.

Umar Haque brainwashed young pupils he taught at an Islamic school and mosque and made them act out atrocities.

The 25-year-old was still ranting about IS as he was dragged from the dock after being convicted of preparing acts of terrorism.

The Old Bailey heard he planned to launch simultaneous terror attacks against a handwritten list of 30 potential targets, including Big Ben, the Tube, Westfield shopping centre, Heathrow Airport, courts, Shia Muslims, journalists and far-right groups.

Haque became "fascinated” by the Westminster attack in March last year and discussed bringing his own "death squad” to the capital with two conspirators who helped the plot.

In a bugged conversation four days after the first IS-claimed attack in London, he told a friend: "So what I want to personally is launch different attacks in all the different areas ... we're here to cause terror, my brother.”

Even though he had no teaching qualifications, Haque had access to 250 youngsters at two east London schools and the Ripple Road madrasa over five years, attempting to radicalise 110 of them.

He was teaching pupils aged between 11 and 16 at the fee-paying independent Lantern of Knowledge school in Leyton.

He taught Islamic studies and PE between April 2015 and January 2016, with parents saying they were "horrified” after learning of his radicalisation attempts.

Haque also assumed the role of a teacher at the Ripple Road Mosque in Barking and "manipulated” children, telling them he intended to die a martyr and IS was "good”.

Prosecutors said he played terrorist videos depicting the burning of passports and beheadings with a knife or sword to "encourage them into his mindset”.

Haque made the children train and act out the roles of police and attackers in scenarios involving weapons and a car bomb, while he shouted "Allahu Akhbar”.

One of the boys later told police: "Umar has been teaching us how to fight, do push-ups, given strength and within six years he was planning to do a big attack on London.

"He wants a group of 300 men. He's training us now so by the time I'm in Year 10 we will be physically strong enough to fight. We took an oath like we would not tell our parents.”

Haque came to the attention of authorities when he tried to travel to Turkey from Heathrow in April 2016, a route used by hundreds of British jihadis who joined IS in Syria.

The Ripple Road mosque is under investigation by the Charity Commission.



Police action praised after gunman attacks

premium_icon Police action praised after gunman attacks

The service would maintain impartiality while the investigation is carried out

IDENTIFIED: Man shot dead in Tiaro police stand-off

premium_icon IDENTIFIED: Man shot dead in Tiaro police stand-off

A man opened fire on police before officers shot him dead

PHOTO GALLERY: Festive fun at the Santa fair

premium_icon PHOTO GALLERY: Festive fun at the Santa fair

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Queens Park Maryborough...