Umar Haque, the accused, reportedly showed young children footage of beheadings and even conducted terrorism role-play exercises. He was apparently trying to create the group for the Islamic State (IS) in London.
The 25-year-old was looking to brainwash children as young as 11 at a mosque in London. It was reported that he played IS propaganda to students at the Lantern of Knowledge Islamic School in East London, where he taught an Islamic Studies class, despite having no teaching qualifications.
Haque, who confessed his support to the IS, also had plans to blow up a car packed with explosives at 30 high-profile targets, which included the Big Ben, and the Westfield Shopping centre in East London.
The police believe that he tried to radicalise at least 110 children who were attending an after-school madrasah at the mosque and school, with 35 now receiving long-term support.
During his sentencing, Justice Charles Haddon-Cave described Haque’s actions as “extreme and alarming”.
“You have violated the Qur’an and Islam by your actions, as well as the law of all civilised people,” Haddon-Cave told Haque.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of the counter-terrorism unit at Scotland Yard, said that Haque had “tried to prepare the children for martyrdom by making them play role-play terrorist attacks in London”.
The arrest of Haque has led to the investigation into the Lantern of Knowledge school. In April 2016, Haque was stopped at Heathrow airport as he attempted to board a flight to Istanbul. Following the arrest, his passport was confiscated and police began investigating him.