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Terror teacher guilty of trying to recruit 'army of children' for IS-inspired attacks

From the Waltham Forest Guardian

Umar Haque, 25, was found guilty at the Old Bailey on Friday after five days of jury deliberations. The court heard during the month-long trial Haque attempted to convert children as young as 11 to his extremist cause while working as a teacher at Lantern of Knowledge School in Leyton and at Ripple Road Mosque in Barking.

Accomplices Abuthaher Mamun and Muhammad Abid, who Haque recruited after meeting at the mosque, were convicted of their roles in helping him.

A court sketch of defendants (l to r) Muhammad Abid, Umar Haque, Abuthaher Mamun and Nadeem Patel

After he was found guilty, Haque shouted: "I want to say something", but was dragged out of the dock by officers as he continued to rant.

Jurors failed to reach a verdict on a further count of disseminating a terrorist document, while he was acquitted of conspiring to possess firearms.

It is estimated Haque was given access to more than 250 children at Lantern of Knowledge, another unnamed east London school and Ripple Road Mosque over the course of five years, despite having no formal teaching qualifications. 

Haque said: "We are here to cause terror, my brother. We are a death squad sent by Allah and his messengers to avenge my Arab brothers' blood."

In the months before his arrest, he bragged about recruiting 16 children, telling Ripple Road youngsters he intended to die a martyr and IS was "good". Haque made them act out the roles of police and attackers in scenarios with weapons and a car bomb.

Trial judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, told the court Haque would sentenced at a later date.


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