School Employee Tried to Build ‘Army of Children’ for London Terror Attacks

A self-styled teacher in London has been found guilty of terror offenses stemming from what police called his attempts to create “an army of children” that could carry out terror attacks in the British capital.

Umar Haque, 25, tried to radicalize children between the ages of 11 and 14, London authorities said, with his offenses taking place while he taught Islamic studies at a private religious school in the city. Haque did not have any teaching qualifications and was not specifically employed as a teacher but rather an administrator.

Children who had once been in Haque’s classes detailed to police how he had given them strength training and made them re-enact the Westminster attack carried out by Khalid Masood.

Dean Haydon, the head of the Counter Terrorism Command at the London Metropolitan Police, said that Haque had shown the children videos of terror attacks and beheadings. “Haque was a dangerous man who was inspired by attacks in Europe and Westminster. He wanted to orchestrate numerous attacks at once, using guns, knives, bombs and large cars to kill innocent people.

“We recovered a number of exercise books from his home, and it was evident from his notes that his plan was a long-term one. He intended to execute his plan years later, by which time he anticipated he would have trained and acquired an army of soldiers, including children,” Haydon said.

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The school previously had outstanding ratings from government inspectors, Reuters reported, with police saying that the children had been terrified by Haque into staying silent.

“The children were paralyzed by fear of Haque, who they understood to have connections to terrorists and who essentially told them that a violent fate would befall them if they told anyone what he was doing. They were too afraid to confide in anyone,” Haydon said.

Police said that Haque was attempting to radicalize 55 children, all of whom had now received safeguarding support. Of them, 35 were assessed to need longer-term support.

Haque was found guilty on Friday of two counts of preparation of terrorist acts and one count of collection of information useful to terrorism. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of dissemination of terrorist publications and three counts of collection of information useful to terrorism.

Terror25-17HaqueCustody Umar Ahmed Haque, a self-styled teacher in London, has been found guilty of terror offenses stemming from what police called his attempts to create “an army of children” that could carry out terror attacks in the British capital. London Metropolian Police

Haque was also found not guilty of a count of conspiracy to possess a firearm, and the jury was hung on one count of dissemination of terrorist publications. Along with Haque, three other men were found guilty of various offenses linked to the investigation surrounding him.

Abuthaher Mamun, 29, was found guilty on one count of preparation of terrorist acts. Muhammed Abid, 27, was found guilty on one count of having information about acts of terrorism.

Nadeem Patel, 26, was found guilty on one count of conspiracy to possess a firearm, having previously pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited weapon. He received 16 months in prison. Haque, Mamun and Abid will be sentenced at a later date.