Man jailed for life for terrorism offences committed at charities

29 Mar 2018 News

Umar Haque

Image from Metropolitan Police

The man at the centre of two separate Charity Commission statutory inquiries into two schools has been jailed for life for trying to build a “child army” in London. 

Umar Haque was found guilty of grooming and radicalising children earlier this month and was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years for a range of terrorism offences on Tuesday. The Charity Commission opened statutory inquiries into two educational organisations where Haque had previously been employed on 5 March

Haque had been a part-time teacher at the Lantern of Knowledge Education Trust and had also worked at the past at the Essex Islamic Academy. He was found guilty of trying to radicalise children by showing them Islamic State propaganda videos, with the intention of getting them to help him and another man to carry out terrorist attacks across London. 

Prior to his conviction, the court heard that Haque had “played Isis propaganda to students” at the fee paying Lantern of Knowledge Islamic school, and had told boys at the Essex Islamic Academy that he had “established contact” with Isis and “showed them a series of videos projected on to the inside” of a marquee. 

At the time, Michelle Russell, director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement at the Charity Commission, said it was “one of the worst cases we have seen with children, as young as 11, being exposed to harm through attempted radicalisation and terrorist material by this man”. 

The Metropolitan Police said they were concerned that Haque had been exposed to at least 110 children at the schools, 35 of whom are “receiving long-term support”. 

According to a report in The Guardian, Justice Haddon-Cave, the sentencing judge, said Haque was “a very real” threat to society and was “a dangerous liar.”

Speaking directly to Haque, the judge said: “You have violated the Qur’an and Islam by your actions as well as the law of all civilised people. It is hoped you will come to realise this.”

A spokesman for the Lantern of Knowledge Trust said “the trustees, governors and staff of Lantern of Knowledge School were shocked when Umar Haque was arrested, and struck with horror to subsequently learn of his activities.

“We denounce any form of radicalisation and would have been swift to notify the police and prevent team if any had come to the school’s attention during or after Haque’s employment.” 

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