‘Teacher’ guilty of grooming kids for terrorism

A self-styled teacher has been found guilty of trying to recruit an ‘army of children’ for IS-inspired attacks in London.

Umar Haque trained young people with role play and physical exercise, for attacks on 30 landmarks across the capital.

The 25-year-old plotted to target landmarks including Big Ben, the Queen’s Guard and Westfield shopping centre, using guns and a car packed with explosives.

He groomed children as young as 11 at the Ripple Road mosque in Barking, bragging about recruiting 16 youngsters and telling them IS was “good”.

A self-styled teacher with no formal qualifications, he was able to access 250 young people over five years at two schools in Barking and the Ripple Road Madrassa.

After he was found guilty, Haque shouted “I want to say something” and was dragged from the dock by officers.

The attacks plot was pursued with the help of others. Abuthaher Mamun, 19, and Muhammad Abid, 27, were convicted of attempting to help the would-be terrorist with fundraising and support.

In bugged conversations Haque was recorded telling conspirators they were “here to cause terror” and saying he had been inspired by the 2017 Westminster Bridge attack.

“We are a death squad sent by Allah and his messengers to avenge my Arab brothers’ blood,” he said.

Handwritten notes presented in court included a hit list of targets including Transport for London, Shia Muslims, Heathrow, City Banks, the media, embassies and Britain First.

Giving evidence, Haque said the hoped-for attacks were “hypothetical”, and the other accused men said they did not believe his terrorism intentions were serious.

He pleaded guilty to four charges of collecting information useful for terrorism and one of disseminating a terrorist document, but denied two charges of preparing for acts of terrorism.

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He was found guilty of all the charges.

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