A teacher and Islamic State supporter in London tried to recruit his students to become an army of jihadis that would carry out a wave of attacks across the city, Reuters reported.
What did the teacher make the students do?
Umar Haque, 25, allegedly showed 110 children beheading videos and other violent militant propaganda, and forced them rehearse lethal attacks on London that included attacking police officers, Reuters reported, from information at Haque's trial.
Haque also allegedly told the children he is part of the Islamic State and they would suffer the same fate as the people in the beheading videos if they reported him, according to the report.
The children were "paralyzed by fear," Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command told Reuters.
“His plan was to create an army of children to assist with multiple terrorist attacks throughout London,” Haydon said. “He tried and he did, we believe, radicalize vulnerable children from the ages of 11 to 14.”
Haque reportedly had no teaching qualifications, yet he was employed as an administrator at a private Islamic school that is connected to the Ripple Road Mosque in east London, the report states. He was teaching a course in Islamic studies while attempting to groom the children into becoming militants.
Thirty-five of the children are now undergoing special treatment through social services. Six of them spoke at Haque's trial, saying he taught them "fighting is good," and gave them physical strength training exercises.
Haque was allegedly planning attacks aimed at the Big Ben clock tower, soldiers from the Queen’s Guards, a large shopping center, banks, and media stations, the report stated. His plan was reportedly inspired by the attack in March 2017 in which Khalid Masood allegedly killed four people by driving a rented car into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge. A police officer was also fatally stabbed in the attack.
What were the charges?
Haque was found guilty Friday of a number of offenses related to preparing terrorist acts at London’s Old Bailey Court, Reuters stated.
Two other men were convicted of helping Haque. They are Muhammad Abid and Abuthaher Mamun, who was allegedly involved in fundraising and planning the attacks, according to the report. They will be all sentenced at a later date.