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Editorial comment: Safeguarding children a priority

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 March 2018

Umar Haque tried to recruit children to carry out terrorist plots. Picture: MET POLICE

Umar Haque tried to recruit children to carry out terrorist plots. Picture: MET POLICE

Met Police

The conviction of an IS-inspired preacher who tried to radicalise children at the Ripple Road mosque is quite shocking.

I agree with the NSPCC that this case is a form of child abuse as much a terrorist offence and an horrendous realisation of the counter-terrorism challenge we face.

I hope all the children (and their families) who have been exposed to this dreadful individual are given the support needed to cope with this. By targeting and essentially attempting to groom children in a mosque, IS sympathisers show how low they are prepared to go to spread their hatred.

I welcome the investigation by mosque leaders into the circumstances of how Haque was given access to children through education classes despite being an unqualified teacher.

However, I find it staggering that anyone would be enabled to gain a position as important as a teacher within a mosque - or even a mainstream school - without stringent tests and background checks on qualifications and suitability. It’s all our responsibility to teach our children right from wrong, from parents, other relatives, teachers, sport coaches and leaders who represent our places of worship for a multitude of faiths across the country.

But credit to our security services for doing an incredible job in tracking, bugging and monitoring conversations with persons of interest since Haque tried to travel to Turkey.

We make great noise about terror attacks we fail to thwart - and rightly so - but it’s important to acknowledge a job well done.

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