Self-styled teacher Umar Haque, 25, trained an ‘army of children’ for terrorist attacks
A teacher who tried to raise an army of ‘junior jihadis’ ready to attack London was dragged from court ranting about the end of ‘Western domination’ as he was jailed for at least 25 years.
Umar Haque, 25, of Forest Gate, East London, made children aged between 11 and 14 act out battles between police and the ISIS fighters he idolised.
Haque drew up a list of targets in the capital including Heathrow Airport, Parliament, Big Ben and the Westfield shopping centre to terrorise innocents.
He also noted that gay clubs were ‘definitely’ among 30 targets and blasted ‘mass fornication and illicit behaviour’ when questioned by police.
But the hypocrite was also trawling the internet for transsexual prostitutes.
Haque taught pupils at the Ripple Road Mosque in Barking, where he made students ‘role play’ a battle between ISIS and UK police officers.
Searches of the homes of Haque’s contacts uncovered this deadly Walter P99 pistol
He had no formal qualifications yet was left free to teach up to 250 youngsters at two East London schools as well as the mosque over five years where tried to radicalise more than 100 of them.
The religious studies teacher showed youngsters beheading videos and warned them to keep quiet or else they would be tortured or murdered by ISIS.
As a result of being exposed to the extremist material, 35 are now receiving support amid radicalisation fears.
Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, detailed a report by an NHS psychotherapist working alongside the Government’s de-radicalisation programme Prevent who has engaged with nine ex-pupils aged nine to 13.
‘As a result of their contact with Haque the children had spoken of their confusion and frustration surrounding Islamic State, their religion and non-Muslims,’ he said.
‘Although they are clear what they saw was wrong, they are left conflicted and without answers which leads them to be particularly vulnerable to grooming.
Chilling notes of Haque’s plans reveal he hoped to have 100 ‘fighters’ for his terror attacks
He said ‘recruitment should be easy across Newham / Tower Hamlets’ and needed 10 ‘soldiers’
‘Some speak of having flashbacks of the videos and nightmares centred around fear of death and punishment in the afterlife.’
Mr Heywood described the expert’s view that their turmoil had brewed an ‘us versus them, East-West ideology’ amongst some of the ‘traumatised’ children.
Timeline of Umar Haque’s plot to unleash terror on London’s streets
Umar Haque had access to 250 children at two independent schools and a mosque over the course of five years.
2012: The administrator and self-styled teacher gets a job at the fee-paying independent Hafs Academy in Newham, east London.
It’s latest Ofsted report of 2016 says it is ‘inadequate’ and highlights ‘safeguarding’ issues and a failure to complete checks on new staff.
April 2015 to January 2016: Haque works at the Lantern of Knowledge, fee-paying independent Muslim school in Leyton, east London. It is given an ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted at the time.
2016-2017: Haque is heavily involved in administration and teaching at the Ripple Road mosque in Barking where he trains children for terror attacks and swears them to secrecy. The Charity Commission is investigating.
April 11 2016: Haque is stopped at Heathrow Airport attempting to board a flight to Istanbul in Turkey. Counter-terrorism police and MI5 investigate.
His phone is seized and found to contain a large number of searches for terrorist attacks and executions.
May 11 2016: Haque’s passport is revoked under royal prerogative to prevent him travelling abroad.
January 24 2017: He is stopped by police for driving with no insurance.
March 26 2017: The first evidence arises where Haque, in conversation with Muhammad Abid, boasts about radicalising 16 children. The bugged evidence also reveals he is inspired by the Westminster Bridge attack.
May 17 2017: All four defendants are arrested and charged a few days later.
June 2017: The Department for Education orders an emergency Ofsted inspection which finds the Lantern of Knowledge ‘does not meet all of the independent school standards’.
August 3 2017: Haque is found guilty of the driving offence and disqualified from driving.
November 21 2017: Haque is further charged with attempting to radicalised children.
January-February 2018: Haque and his alleged helpers go on trial at the Old Bailey on a raft of terrorism charges.
Police reveal the 25-year-old attempted to radicalise 110 children.
Haque was stopped by security officers at Heathrow on April 11, 2016 on his way to Istanbul to fight in the Middle East.
With him he had two mobile phones which he had used to repeatedly to gloat over the terror attacks in France and Belgium and ISIS beheadings in Syria.
He revealed his desires to ape the attacks in London Bridge and Westminster in a series of conversations with fellow mosque teacher Abuthaher Mamun, 19, 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.’
‘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.’
The bug also recorded Haque speaking about marrying girls aged just 15 or 16. Haque claimed it was all a fantasy and he had only planned ‘the ideal attack’ in his mind.
But after hearing from pupils he tried to brainwash, the jury found him guilty of two counts of preparing to commit acts of terrorism.
Haque had also shown videos of beheadings and people burning British passports while teaching at the £3,000 a year Lantern of Knowledge Islamic private school in Leyton.
Remarkably, the school was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted who praised its ‘strong sense of community, harmony and respect’ in November 2015 whilst Haque was taking classes.
Haque admitted dissemination of terrorist publications and four counts of collection of information likely to be useful to a terrorist.
He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years while fundraiser Mamun, who traded in financial options to support the terror attacks, was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.
The court heard the money was lost by Mamun, who claimed he had been ‘clearly groomed’ by Haque.
He began their friendship looking at his co-defendant as ‘a sort of older brother’ before it ‘became considerably more insidious as time went on’, said his barrister Rajiv Menon QC.
Muhammad Abid, 27, who failing to disclose information about Haque’s terror planning, was also jailed for four years and three months.
He claimed that disclosing Haque’s plans ‘would not have added anything’ because the police had already gleaned it from the covert recordings and opted not to arrest him.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave told Haque: ‘You have plenty of time to study the Koran in prison in the years to come.
‘You should understand that the Koran is a book of peace. Islam is a religion of peace. The Koran upholds the sanctity of life.
To do list: Notes found in Haque’s possession read ‘House raids and family investigated’
Haque’s notebook included mesages saying ‘Either I go or bit by bit. The final decision lays with Allah’
‘The Koran and Islam forbids anything extreme, including extremism in religion. Islam forbids breaking the law of the land where one is living or is a guest. Islam forbids terrorism.
‘The Koran and the Sunna provide that the crime of perpetrating terror to cause corruption in the land is one of the most severe crimes in Islam.
Bugged conversations reveal extent of London terror plans
Umar Haque was said to have been inspired by the Westminster attack on March 22 last year in which five people, including PC Keith Palmer, were killed.
On March 26, he told Muhammad Abid, in a conversation bugged by the security services: ‘So what I want to do personally is launch different attacks in all the different areas, one in Westminster, one in Stratford, one in Forest Gate, in so many different areas.
‘Immediately there’s one focus to all the police, get off the streets, civilians get off the streets. Not just Westminster attack, entire London.’
Haque added: ‘We’re here to cause terrorism akhi. We are a death squad sent by Allah and his messengers to avenge my Arab brother’s blood and our blood. I just want to be with god, you know what I’m trying to say?’
On April 7, he was heard rehearsing a speech to himself in his car: ‘And you’ll see what we have, so many numbers, and we’ll be ready to fight. Going to go kill them, yeah?
‘Going to go kill them the way they’re killing us, innit, we’re going to kill so many of them, man, that they’re going to regret ever getting into the war with the Islamic State. Do you hear me boys?’
The next he chanted: ‘Seven seaters, seven seaters, seven seaters will be the one’ – said to be a reference to getting a larger vehicle.
In a bugged recording on May 2 last year, Haque told Abutaher Mamun about taking a knife, ‘go to the Palace and just…’
He discussed his students, referring to them as his ‘boys’, and whether they were capable of taking on the police.
Ten days later, on Friday May 12, in Haque’s car, they referred to ‘experimenting’ and Mamun referred to starting small and then making something on a bigger scale, somewhere where they would not get caught.
Mamun suggested Wanstead Flats and Haque agreed and said they could top up ‘that phone’, and go somewhere to download all the manuals.
‘We would invite the conclusion when you have heard all the evidence that what was being discussed were trials of for example an explosive event,’ Mr Heywood said.
‘The inference from this exchange is that the pair were discussing the preparation and testing of a device, based on information they had gained from instructional videos.’
‘So it is in the law of the United Kingdom. You have therefore received a severe sentence under the law of this land.
‘You have violated the Koran as well as the law of all civilised people.’
Haque remained impassive upon receiving his sentence but taunted onlookers as he was hauled from his place: ‘Nine years – that’s all they have of Western domination. After that it’s hunger and insecurities.’
The judge had said of him: ‘He is narcissistic and clearly enjoys the power he wields over others.
‘In my view, Haque’s determination and ability to radicalise those around him means he represents a real danger to people young and old and people inside and outside of prison.’
Mr Heywood had earlier told the court: ‘Umar Haque was fascinated by the warped and extreme ideology of Islamic State. He had identified methods and targets.
‘Those targets were numerous but included for example, the Queen’s Guard, the courts, Transport for London, Shia Muslims, Westfield, banks in the City of London, Heathrow, west London, Parliament, Big Ben, the English Defence League or Britain First, embassies, media stations.’
One of Haque’s former pupils at the mosque told court that the teacher told him he should die for Allah as a martyr.
‘He was telling us that he knows a few people from ISIS and then he said to us that he was going to show us videos,’ the student said.
He was then shown a video of a boy diagnosed with cancer who was buried but was then dug up by his father.
The boy told the court that Haque said: ‘That would happen to us if we don’t pray and become a martyr.’
When asked why his teacher showed him these videos, the 14-year-old said: ‘So we can join him – to become ISIS.’
All four men were arrested after a joint operation between MI5 and the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command on May 17 last year.
Following his arrest, police discovered a knife hidden in Haque’s Ford Focus.
Photos of the car, a package recovered from behind the control panel in the footwell, and the recovered knife were shown to the jury as evidence of police searches was given in court.
A search of his bedroom recovered a USB stick in a chest of drawers containing the publications ‘The Book of Jihad’ and ‘Constants in the path of Jihad’.
It also contained two copies of the ISIS magazine Dabiq and a video titled ‘The Islamic State and No Respite’.
In the film a voice is heard to boast that ISIS territory was as big as the UK and that every day 18 coalition soldiers committed suicide before even entering battle.
The youngsters, aged 11 to 14, were radicalised in this marquee next to a mosque in Barking
Haque had disturbing conversations with fellow teachers Abuthaher Mamun (left), 19, and Muhammad Abid (right), 27 about radicalising pupils and carrying out attacks
Referring to the ‘coalition of devils’ including Iran and Turkey opposing ISIS, the speaker added: ‘Bring it on, your numbers only increase our faith. Our ally is the greatest – he is Allah and all glory belongs to him.’
Police also found YouTube videos about the manufacture of explosive substances including homemade tannerite and a guide on ‘how to extract flash powder from fireworks.’
An expert concluded a viable explosive substance could be made using the video but it would require a detonator.
Another video showed the explosion of a pipe bomb but did not provide any instructions on how to construct it.
A Dell laptop found in the bedroom contained jihadi material and a photo of a police officer patrolling Horse Guards in London.
Haque had this gruesome-looking knife stashed away in his car, wrapped in paper
Haque is understood to have radicalised children in this marquee opposite a mosque
Officers also found an article from the ISIS magazine Rumiyah about the targeting of kafirs or unbelievers.
Haque had praised Osama Bin Laden and IS fighters in Africa as well as Khalid Masood and had told the policed he was a ‘loyal soldier’ of Islamic State.
Giving evidence Haque said that he only planned ‘the ideal attack’ in his mind and would never act on it.
He told jurors after watching a 31-minute long speech by Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, who was the official spokesman for IS, he became fixated with planning an attack in the UK.
He said: ‘It was that speech that made me become a supporter of the Islamic State. The thought of attacking the west was always there in the back of my mind.
‘I was just thinking maybe it’s definitely justified to attack the UK. If someone did want to launch an attack in the UK, theoretically, how would they go about it.
One of the schools where Haque worked, the Hafs Academy, is based in this industrial unit in East London
Haque also taught at the all-boys Lantern of Knowledge Muslim independent school in Leyton
‘I was just putting into perspective the ideal attack that could happen in London.’
Haque insisted that it was purely ‘theoretical’ and he would never go ahead with any attack.
Abid claimed he did not challenge Haque or report him to the authorities because he did not believe what Haque was saying.
He sought to highlight the ‘clear distinction’ between failing to disclose information and ‘someone who supports extremist views’ which he insisted was not part of his conviction.
‘I wish I could have done more to prevent it if I could,’ he told the judge from the dock.
He added that it was ‘difficult trying to maintain a relationship’ with someone when simultaneously ‘trying to reform their views’.
Pictured: Inside Haque’s home where he planned lessons aimed at training his pupils to be the terrorists of the future
Mr Menon, for Mamun, told the court he was a ‘foot-soldier, not a planner’ who ‘had nothing to do with the original plan conceived by Haque’.
He described how Mamun’s time spent with imams at HMP Wandsworth helped him recognise ‘the pernicious effect Mr Haque had over him, twisting his view of Islam’.
‘This is a genuine change of mindset,’ he added of Mamun, telling the court he had ‘renounced’ any extremist views.
Haque denied two counts of preparing to commit acts of terrorism, one count of dissemination of terrorist publications and one count of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
The jury were deadlocked on one count of dissemination of terrorist publication, relating to the beheading videos shown to pupils at the school, and Haque was found not guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm.
He was found guilty of two counts of preparation of terrorist acts.
He admitted to dissemination of terrorist publications, and four counts of collection of information likely to be useful to a terrorist.
The self-styled terror teacher wrote his plans in an exercise book seized by police after they raided his home
Mamun, of Barking, denied and was convicted of preparation of terrorist acts.
Abid, of Manor Park, denied and was convicted of failing to disclose information about Haque.
Nadeem Ilyas Patel, 26, of Forest Gate, denied and was cleared of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
He admitted possession of a prohibited weapon and jailed for 16 months.
Mamun, who was said to have ‘renounced’ Haque’s extremist view of Islam, was jailed for 12 years with a further year on extended licence.
Haque’s confidant Abid, a qualified cupping therapist, was handed four years and three months in prison for failing to report the plot.
After the sentencing, an NSPCC spokesman said: ‘Haque used his position of trust as a smokescreen to try and recruit an army of young people in his care to help him carry out the atrocities he planned.
‘The methods used to try and radicalise them included fear and intimidation – a form of child abuse. But it is thanks to the bravery of those victims who spoke out about what they endured that Haque is now behind bars for a very long time.’