- School worker abused his position to show jihadist material to young children
- He was caught after trying to board a flight to Turkey and police uncovered plot
- 25-year-old wanted to teach children to drive and attack police with weapons
- He was convicted of terror offences today after crimes at London mosque
- Case raises questions over regulation of independent schools and madrasas
Umar Haque used schools and a madrassa in east London to brainwash young boys into joining his 'death squad' army of jihadis
An ISIS-obsessed teacher used an Islamic madrasa school to train an 'army' of jihadi children who he hoped would unleash carnage on the streets of London.
Umar Haque showed beheading videos to children as young as 11 and made them reenact the Westminster terror attack in which a policeman was stabbed to death.
The 25-year-old wanted to train youngsters to drive cars 'like Mujahideen' before arming them with weapons to carry out atrocities at 30 targets around London, including Big Ben, Heathrow Airport and Westfield shopping centre.
Haque had access to 250 children over four years while working at two Muslim secondary schools and teaching after-school classes at a madrasa attached to a mosque in Barking.
Police believe he tried to radicalise around 110 boys and girls.
He had disturbing conversations with fellow teachers Abuthaher Mamun, 19, and Muhammad Abid, 27 about radicalising pupils and carrying out attacks.
Haque is also said to have known London Bridge terrorist Khuram Butt who, with accomplices Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba, ploughed a white van into pedestrians before rampaging through Borough Market with knives last year.
The three men killed eight people and injured 48 before dying in a hail of police bullets.
Chilling notes of Haque's plans reveal he hoped to have 100 'fighters' for his terror attacks
After he was convicted of preparing acts of terrorism today, Haque leaped to his feet and yelled: 'If I may just say that American and Europe, there will be a drought and you will see the Islamic State establish itself in the Arabian Peninsular.'
He was dragged to the cells by security staff.
He said 'recruitment should be easy across Newham / Tower Hamlets' and needed 10 'soldiers'
To do list: Notes found in Haque's possession read 'House raids and family investigated'
Umar Haque's notebook included mesages saying 'Either I go or bit by bit. The final decision lays with Allah.'
The violent jihadist material he forced them to watch, including graphic videos from ISIS's wars in the Middle East, means that 35 children are now in long-term deradicalisation programmes.
The children took part in 'role playing' exercises which involved them attacking police officers like in the Westminster terror attack.
One boy, aged 12, said: 'We just pretend to hit them. Get them and slice it through the neck.' Another boy said he wanted to kill the Queen.
Haque had disturbing conversations with fellow teachers Abuthaher Mamun, 19, and Muhammad Abid, 27 about radicalising pupils and carrying out attacks
Haque, who was listed as an 'administrator' at the independent schools, told students he had links to ISIS and they would themselves be beheaded if they told anyone about what he was teaching them.
His plot was uncovered after he tried to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey in 2016, a route commonly taken by those joining ISIS in Syria.
A search of his phone uncovered a huge haul of extremist videos and material, which he had accessed while planning his terror attacks in London.
A list found in Haque's possession suggested he planned to target landmarks around London
Searches of the homes of Haque's contacts uncovered this deadly Walter P99 pistol
He also had this gruesome-looking knife stashed away in his car, wrapped in paper
As counter-terror police looked into his background, they realised he had been working at the Lantern of Knowledge private boys school in Leyton, the Hafs Academy in Newham and teaching 'Islamic studies' in the madrasa opposite the Ripple Road Mosque in Barking.
The Met's anti-terror commander Dean Haydon said: 'Haque abused his position at those venues and we believe he radicalised vulnerable children, aged 11 to 14.
'His plan was to create an army of children to assist with multiple terrorist attacks throughout London. His plans, though ambitious, were aspiration. They were long-term attack plans.'
Ofsted's deputy chief inspector Matthew Coffey added: 'It is of deep regret that this individual was able to work within the independent school system and expose his warped ideology to children.
'Umar Haque engaged in highly sophisticated grooming of young, vulnerable children.
'We welcome the conviction and are fully supportive of the work taking place across Government to ensure people like Haque aren't able to do this again.
'Ofsted is committed to protecting children from harm, including radicalisation. However, our ability to do so is hampered by limitations on our powers.
'We have no ability to inspect out-of-school settings, such as madrassas, and we believe greater powers in this area could help keep children safe in the future.
Haque is said to have known London Bridge terror attacker Khuram Butt
'We know the Government is keen to address these matters and welcome their commitment to closer working.'
An exercise book in which he set out his plot revealed his plans to have '100 fighters', armed with 'guns, knives, bombs and chainsaws'.
The book states: 'We must have 10 core soldiers minimum. Recruitment should be easy across Newham/Tower Hamlets.'
A list of targets included Heathrow Airport and Tower Bridge - which were ringed - the Queen's Guard, Big Ben, Parliament, banks in the City of London, Freemason's lodge, MI5 building, courts, and the embassies of Russia, China and Iran.
An alternative list, which appeared to be an earlier version, read: 'Police/Queens Guard; courts; TFL; Westfield, Banks, City of London; Heathrow; West London/Big Ben/Parliament; EDL/ Britain First/ Embassies/Media stations.'
When the men were arrested police found a small backpack in a drawer at Patel's flat containing a 9mm Umarex Walther P99 pistol, designed to fire CS canisters or pepper spray.
Interviewed by police, Haque told them that he should 'go to prison for life' adding: 'There is no place for me in society.'
In a bugged conversation, he expressed his admiration for Westminster killer Khalid Masood and talked about launching a vehicle attack in the same area Masood killed five people last year.
And as he drove around London, a bug in his vehicle picked up chanting about a 'seven seater' and him rehearsing his recruitment speech for his class at the mosque.
As his plans developed, Haque and fellow teacher Abuthaher Mamun, 19, talked of watching online bomb-making tutorials and trying out an explosion on Wanstead Flats, east London.
Mamun said he was going to go for 'training' to help Haque raise money and they discussed investment, including references to Bitcoin and how much could be made.
When Haque was arrested, officers found a kitchen knife hidden behind the central console of his Ford Focus, wrapped in newspaper with pictures of semi-naked women.
On a memory stick in his pocket were a series of ISIS publications which gave advice on how to launch knife and vehicle attacks.
In notebooks found by police, Haque sketched out his plans for radicalising children, identified targets and wrote a justification for the attacks in English and Arabic.
On one page he had scribbled: 'People will know the Muslims of East London are serious,' on another: 'What is your purpose? Desiring martyrdom.'
A 'to do list' read: '(1) Learn how to make it (2) Purchase silah [weapons] (3) Purchase a van (4) Develop recruitment pack.'
In one conversation recorded by the security services, Haque said: 'So what I want to personally is launch different attacks in all the different areas, one in Westminster, one in Stratford, one in Forest Gate, one...in so many different areas, yeah.'
His teenage co-defendant Mamun said: 'We're here to cause terror, my brother. We are a death squad sent by Allah and his messengers to avenge my Arab brothers' blood.'
Mamun, of Barking, was convicted of preparation of terrorist acts.
A third teacher, 27-year-old Muhammad Abid, who was told of Haque's terror planning, was convicted of failing to disclose information about him.
He listened to Haque outline his plans to recruit and radicalise pupils in a five-hour conversation, even agreeing to help him write a document to justify his actions.
Abid, a former electrician, who had become a faith healer and ran his own Islamic school in a local community centre, now faces jail for failing to inform police.
How was he not reported? Shocking details of 'army of children' terror case raise urgent questions around how Britain's madrasas and religious schools are monitored
The disturbing details of how an extremist came to teach around 250 children, showing them beheading videos and simulating attacks on police officers, will raise serious questions over how religious schools in the UK are monitored.
Umar Haque was listed as an 'administrator' at two private Islamic schools and a mosque - but managed to gain access to children he hoped would kill on Britain's streets.
He is thought to have been teaching youngsters from around 2012 until he was stopped at an airport in 2016.
ue is understood to have radicalised children in this marquee opposite a mosque
Despite not being a qualified teacher, he is said to have taken 'Islamic Studies' classes and possibly some PE lessons - but nobody reported him as he attempted to radicalise over 100 of the 250 he came into contact with.
The Met's Commander Dean Haydon said: 'The investigation has revealed subsequently there are no reports from teachers or children to the school that raised concerns about Haque himself.
Haque's access to children will raise troubling questions over the UK's madrasas and independent schools
'There are also no reports of concerns that came into police, social services, the local education authority or anywhere else. I think that does appear strange.'
He added: 'Haque was not a trained teacher and, following the investigation and all the issues raised, his contact with children and what he was doing in the classroom, quite clearly is a concern for all of us.
'There was a wall of silence from the children because they were paralysed by fear, nobody was raising the alarm about what he was doing.'
Just months before his arrest, the Lantern of Knowledge Secondary in Leyton, where he had worked, was given an 'outstanding' rating by Ofsted.
Inspectors stated: 'The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils is outstanding.
They have an excellent understanding of the world around them and make a positive contribution to their community.'
Another of the schools Haque taught at, the Hafs Academy in Stratford, was meanwhile rated as inadequate by Ofsted, which found: 'Some essential checks on staff are not completed prior to their employment in school.'
However, an inspection which was carried out after concerns were raised about him found the school met all standards required.
One of the schools where Haque worked, the Hafs Academy, is based in this industrial unit in east London. A 2016 Ofsted report found it was 'inadequate' and teaching 'required improvement'
As well as questions for the independent Muslim schools he taught at, the case will renew concerns over the 'madrasa' schools attached to many of Britain's mosques.
There have been repeated calls for regulation of the religious classes offered to children by mosques amid fears around extremism.
Following the so-called Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham, where it was feared fundamentalists were attempting to take control of schools, the city's council education chief called for monitoring of the schools.
Colin Diamond said: 'These are classrooms by any other name. They are large groups of children. I do wish the government would grasp this stingy old nettle.'
Police say they had a 'mixed response' from the local community in east London when they attempted to investigation Haque and his gang.
Police commander Haydon said: 'We have had challenges both with the local community and some of these institutions.
We have had elements of cooperation and areas of challenges.'
Haque also taught at the all-boys Lantern of Knowledge Muslim independent school in Leyton
A Waltham Forest Council spokesman said: 'The Lantern of Knowledge is an independent Muslim school, not under the control of the local authority.
'We found out about Umar Haque's activities at the Lantern of Knowledge on 18 May 2017, the day after he was arrested.
'Working with the Metropolitan Police and the Lantern of Knowledge we identified those pupils who Haque taught and had unsupervised contact with.
'We have subsequently offered support to these pupils and their families who live in Waltham Forest in terms of safeguarding their well-being.'
Mosques where Haque was allowed to teach terror left around 110 boys and girls vulnerable to radicalisation
The Masjid e-Umar mosque, which followed the fundamentalist deobandi school of Islam, had moved from an end of terrace house in Ripple Road, Barking, east London, to a temporary building behind a laundrette at the beginning of 2015, while construction work was carried out.
Haque, who used the title 'Ustaad' [Teacher], made the children take an oath, swearing that they would not tell anyone about what they were doing with him.
One boy said Haque told the class: 'If we tell our mums or a policeman our heads will turn in the grave and we'll go to hell and our houses will burn down.'
He confided in them that he was a member of ISIS and told them that he intended to gather a large number of fighters together to take part in an attack.
The children were made to perform push-ups, races and grappling in order to train them in physical fitness, while Haque yelled 'allahuAkhbar' [god is great] as they did so.
In other sessions, the boys were instructed in 'role playing' exercises, taking the part of police and terrorists in scenarios with knives, cars, and suicide bombers.
Sometimes those being attacked were referred to as 'Christians' or 'Americans,' the court heard.
'We just pretend to hit them. Get them and slice it through the neck,' one boy, aged 12, said.
By the time they were 15, the children would be strong enough to join in the attack, Haque promised.
He had told them he was 'going to buy vans and stuff so the older ones can go fight' and 'if you kill everyone you'll become a martyr.'
Haque showed the young men a series of videos, played from a laptop and projected onto a curtain or white wall, some of which told them that Judgment Day was approaching.
Others showed dead bodies and fighting in Syria and demanded revenge for Western bombing raids.
'He was, you might think, manipulating and playing to their vulnerability,' Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting said.
The Lantern of Knowledge Islamic School in Leyton, East London, catered for children aged 11 to 16, where he was said to 'range far beyond any curriculum.'
Using the pretext of a news event, he took to talking about ISIS and showed them a video projected onto a whiteboard from his laptop.
The images included people with guns, the burning of passports and a beheading, with a knife or a sword.
'He was seeking to foster, to encourage and to instil the ideology in these young people that he by then espoused,' Mr Heywood said.
Before he left that school, Haque offered to give his phone or email details to any student who wanted to contact him later on.
Self-styled terror teacher's plot to radicalise youngsters at mosque is one of 'worst cases' Charity Commission has ever seen
A religious teacher who tried to radicalise young boys at a mosque was one of the 'worst cases' the Charity Commission said it has seen.
Following Umar Haque's conviction, it confirmed a statutory inquiry is underway into the Islamic Academy, also known as the Ripple Road Mosque, where he worked.
The inquiry started last October, and the commission said it will resume its investigation in full now the trial is over.
Once it has completed its investigatory enquiries, it will deal with any failings or evidence of misconduct or mismanagement by taking appropriate regulatory action, it added.
Part of the inquiry will consider how Haque was able to attempt to radicalise children, and what the trustees and others at the charity knew about this.
The regulator said it will examine the level of supervision, due diligence and oversight the charity had over Haque, and its adherence to safeguarding policies and procedures.
Pictured: Inside Umar Haque's home where he planned lessons aimed at training his pupils to be the terrorists of the future
Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring, and Enforcement at the Charity Commission said: 'The crimes that Mr Haque has been convicted of today are horrendous, and are likely to have a devastating effect on many of the young people exposed to this harm.
'This is one of the worst cases we have seen with children, as young as 11, being exposed to harm through attempted radicalisation and terrorist material by this man.
'The welfare of these children is of utmost importance to all agencies involved.
'Mr Haque's abhorrent actions don't just affect these children, but their families and the community as a whole.
'It is important that those affected have the appropriate support made available to them, and the Commission will continue to do all it can to support the statutory agencies to ensure that this is the case.
'The vast majority of mosques and supplementary schools including madrassahs do good work and are an important resource in local communities.
'What happened clearly damages the trust and confidence the children's parents had in the charity he was employed at, as well as wider public confidence.
'We and the public expect charities, particularly those working with children and young people, to be safe places, free from abuse or harm.
'This was not the case here, where Mr Haque grossly abused the trust placed in him because of his position and teaching role.
The self-styled terror teacher wrote his plans in an exercise book seized by police after they raided his home
'Today's conviction will reassure the public that such abuse is not tolerated, and that those responsible will be held accountable for their actions.
'We will continue to work closely with the police and other authorities to tackle the threat terrorism and extremism poses to charities, their beneficiaries and their work.'
In January, the commission exercised its temporary and protective powers and issued an order, under the Charities Act 2011, to direct the trustees not to provide educational classes or recreational activities which involved regulated activity with under-18s.
The restriction and order will apply until the trustees are able to demonstrate they have complied with urgent actions required by the regulator, they added.
The commission said it has liaised closely with multiple agencies since information was shared by the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command about Haque last year.
Prosecutors said he wanted to kill as 'many innocent people as possible' to further the cause of IS.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: 'The prosecution was able to show that by early 2017, Umar Haque had determined to carry out a terror attack in this country.
'He also used his position of trust to try and convert vulnerable children to his extremist cause and groom them to be involved in future activity.
'Six of them bravely gave evidence in this case.
'Haque's ultimate aim was to kill as many innocent people as possible, regardless of their religion, in order to advance the extremist ideology of Daesh.
'Thankfully he failed and along with the others he must now face the consequences of his actions.'