Forest Gate man guilty of trying to recruit ‘army of children’ in Barking for terror attacks on London

Umar Haque. Picture: Met Police

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

An Islamic State-inspired preacher has been found guilty of trying to recruit an “army of children” for a series of attacks on high profile London landmarks.

A picture of Haque's notebook. Picture: Met Police

A picture of Haque's notebook. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

Umar Haque, 25, from Forest Gate, targeted young Muslims at the Ripple Road mosque in Barking.

A handwritten hit-list of targets included the Queen’s Guard, Westfield, City banks, Heathrow airport, Parliament, Big Ben, embassies, Transport for London and the English Defence League or Britain First.

Abuthaher Mamum of Barking and Muhammad Abid of Newham were convicted for their roles in assisting Haque plan the attacks.

The trial had heard how police and MI5 had been onto Haque since he tried to travel to Turkey in April 2016.

Muhammad Abid, Abuthaher Mamun and Nadeem Patel. Picture: Met Police

Muhammad Abid, Abuthaher Mamun and Nadeem Patel. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

In bugged conversations with his conspirators, Haque explained how he was inspired by the Westminster Bridge attack in March last year.

Haque said: “We are here to cause terror, my brother. We are a death squad sent by Allah and his messengers to avenge my Arab brothers’ blood...”

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Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC told jurors the targets for Haque’s “warped” ideology were civilian as well as police.

In the months before his arrest, he bragged about recruiting 16 children, telling Ripple Road youngsters he intended to die a martyr and IS was “good”.

Haque made them act out the roles of police and attackers in scenarios with weapons and a car bomb.

An NSPCC spokesman has said that this is “a form of child abuse.”

“This case demonstrates how people who are intent on carrying out acts of terrorism often use fear and intimidation to push their ideologies onto children and young people,” he added.

After he was found guilty at the Old Bailey this afternoon, Haque had to be dragged from the dock by police officers.

“I want to say something,” he shouted. He continued to rant as he was dragged away to his cell.

When the defendants were arrested in May, police seized a large kitchen knife from Haque’s Ford Focus and a collection of IS propaganda from his home in Forest Gate.

In a search of Patel’s home, police found a Walther P99 pistol and a carbon dioxide powered pistol.

Giving evidence, Haque proclaimed his support for IS but said he was only “pondering” hypothetical attacks.

His co-accused told jurors they did not believe he was serious about launching an attack.

Haque pleaded guilty to four charges of collecting information useful for terrorism and one count of disseminating a terrorist document.

He denied two charges of preparing for acts of terrorism, but was found guilty on both counts.

Jurors could not agree on a further count of disseminating a terrorist document, while he was acquitted of conspiring to possess firearms along with Nadeem Patel, 26, who was also found not guilty.

Patel had previously pleaded guilty to possessing a handgun.

Mamun, 19, denied, but was found guilty of preparing for acts of terrorism by assisting Haque in planning an attack, and of trading options in order to finance it.

Abid, 27, denied a charge of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism relating to Haque.

The NSPCC spokesman added: “Adults who have concerns that a child is being radicalised can call the NSPCC’s confidential helpline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 0808 800 5000. It might be nothing, it might be something. But whatever you’re worried about, our specially trained counsellors are here to talk to you.

“Children and young people who have any concerns or worries can contact Childline, anytime of day, on 0800 1111 or at”.

The judge, Justice Haddon-Cave, will sentence at a later date.