Interim manager appointed to oversee mosque where children were groomed for terrorism

Umar Haque. Picture: Met Police

Umar Haque. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

The Charity Commission has announced the appointment of an interim manager to oversee a mosque where children were groomed by an Islamic State fanatic.

Jonathan Burchfield will be looking after Barking’s Ripple Road Mosque, also known as the Essex Islamic Academy, where the commission has been investigating since October last year.

In March, Umar Ahmed Haque, from Forest Gate, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years after grooming children as young as 11 at the mosque.

The Old Bailey trial heard how the 25-year-old secretly brainwashed the boys through terrorism role play and exercises, and showed them gory IS propaganda.

He had told the children he intended to die a martyr and bragged about recruiting them in the months before his arrest.

One of the youngsters later told police that Haque wanted a group of 300 men and was training the boys to be strong enough to fight.

Jurors also heard how Haque had also planned to use guns and a car bomb to strike 30 high-profile targets including Big Ben and the Queen’s Guard.

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Three other men, one from Barking and two from Newham, were also handed jail terms for their roles in the scheme.

As part of the Charity Commission’s inquiry, which was announced after Haque’s conviction, it is considering how he was able to radicalise the children and what the trustees and others at the charity knew about it.

The inquiry will also examine the level of supervision, due diligence and oversight the charity had over Mr Haque, and its adherence to safeguarding policies and procedures.

The role of Mr Burchfield, of Stone King LLP. is to implement safeguarding procedures, ensure all current trustees, relevant staff and relevant volunteers have understood safeguarding procedures and completed relevant training, and review the charity’s government document, and its financial controls and policies.

He assumes these duties at the exclusion of the charity’s trustees; however the latter retain control over the day-to-day running of the charity.

The commission’s investigation continues and it intends to publish a report after the conclusion of its inquiry, detailing the issues looked at, what actions were taken and what the outcome was.