Interim manager appointed to charity after employee’s terrorism conviction

23 Aug 2018 News

The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager to Essex Islamic Academy, where a part-time teacher had been found guilty of showing students videos of beheadings and other violent militant propaganda. 

A statutory inquiry into the charity was opened in October 2017 and Uman Ahmed Haque was convicted earlier this year after pleading guilty to disseminating terrorist material to children who attended the school. 

Jonathan Burchfield of Stone King LLP took over from trustees on 8 June to implement safeguarding procedures and ensure that trustees and relevant staff and volunteers understand them and have completed training. He will also review the charity’s governing document and its financial controls. 

In March Metropolitan Police said that Haque had tried to radicalise 55 children. 

Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “When specially trained officers interviewed the children, they described being shown by Haque horrific videos of extreme terrorist violence including executions.

"They told police how Haque made them roleplay terrorists and police officers, with the children acting as terrorists being made to stab the 'police officers' to death. 

"The children were paralysed 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.” 

The inquiry was announced at the same time as another one into the Lantern of Knowledge Education Trust, where Haque had also worked as a part-time teacher. The trustees remain in control at this charity. In March trustees said they were “shocked” by what had happened and promised to co-operate fully with all the agencies involved. 

At the same time, the Commission’s director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement, Michelle Russell, described it as “one of the worst cases we have seen”. 

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