A 25-year-old teacher from Britain is currently facing prison time after he was found guilty of recruiting school children to train as jihadists to launch a series of attacks in London.
Umar Haque, an ISIS supporter, taught kids between 11 to 14 years old on Islamic studies at the Lantern of Knowledge, an Islamic school. Police, however, suspected that he was trying to radicalize 110 students as his classes also involved showing the kids beheading videos and asking them to re-create the times when the police were attacked.
"He tried to prepare the children for martyrdom by making them role-play terrorist attacks," Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command head Dean Haydon told the court. "He had shown them graphic terrorist videos, beheading videos and frightening terrorist activities overseas. He described himself as a loyal follower to IS."
A jury has convicted Haque, who has ties to the Ripple Road Mosque, on Friday, March 2, for various offenses, including the plan to launch a terror attack. He admitted he had gathered information to use in potential acts of terrorism. The jury also found him guilty of disseminating a document that linked his plans to training children into jihadists.
Some of the children in Haque's classes, who have been threatened against telling their parents, are currently receiving long-term social services care. Six of the kids spoke at the trial to confirm that the teacher had trained them physically to fight and prepare for terrorism.
The trial also unveiled plans that Haque wanted to terrorize the Queen's Guards, Big Ben, a shopping center, banks and broadcasting stations sometime this March. He wanted to commemorate an attack that happened in the same month last year, where an ISIS supporter ran over and killed pedestrians at the Westminster Bridge and then stabbed a police officer near the parliament.
Ofsted inspectors last evaluated Lantern of Knowledge in 2015 as a strong community where children were taught cultural, moral, social and spiritual development. But in June 2017, Ofsted initiated an emergency assessment and reduced the school's ratings.
Haque actually worked in the school administrator's office and was not qualified to teach a class. A commission will look into the school's operation further following his conviction.