An ISIS-inspired teacher in east London has been convicted of plotting attacks on gay bars and public landmarks in London.
Umar Haque, 25, was on Friday found guilty of two counts of preparation of terrorist acts and one count of collection of information useful to terrorism.
The extremist had been an Islamic studies teacher at the private Lantern of Knowledge faith school in Leyton, east London, and had also worked at the Ripple Road mosque in Barking, east London.
The Old Bailey heard that he had abused the positions at the institutions to attempt to radicalise a number of children to build a home-grown jihadist army in the capital.
Haque kept a list of potential targets for ISIS-inspired attacks. A list of planned targets found by authorities in an orange exercise book included gay clubs in the capital.
His planned targets include up to 30 groups, businesses and establishments in London.
Haque told police that he did not like Britain because of “mass fornication, mass illicit behaviour” – though according to the Times, the police investigation discovered that he had been searching online for transgender prostitutes.
A further two men associated with Haque were also convicted of terror offences at the Old Bailey last week.
Abuthaher Mamun, 29, was found guilty of one count of preparation of terrorist acts. Muhammad Abid, 27, was found guilty of one count of having information about acts of terrorism.
According to police, Haque had discussed various aspects of his plot with both men, from how to increase the strength of a bomb and what type of vehicle to use, to where to carry out an attack and what the police response would be.
In a five-hour phone conversation in March 2017, Haque told Abid that he had radicalised 16 children.
Social service workers, together with police, assessed that Haque had attempted to radicalise 55 children aged 11 to 14 while working at Ripple Road Mosque.
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All 55 children have received safeguarding support and 35 have been assessed to require longer-term support.
Haque admitted showing ISIS propaganda videos to his class.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said: “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.”
Commander Haydon continued: “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.
“It’s crucial that the police, partners and communities do all they can to identify where young and vulnerable people are being radicalised and I urge anyone with concerns that this is happening to report it confidentially to police.”
Abid, Mamun and Haque are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey later this month.