A teacher who is serving a life sentence after he planned a terror plot and tried to brainwash children has unsuccessfully argued against being banned from the profession. 

In 2018 Umar Haque was jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years after he planned to use guns and a car bomb to strike 30 high-profile targets including Big Ben and the Queen’s Guard. 

During his trial at the Old Bailey, a jury was told that Haque played an Islamic State film to pupils at the Lantern of Knowledge in Leyton where he was a part-time teacher. 

He also enlisted helpers at the Ripple Road Mosque in Barking, also known as Essex Islamic Academy, where he secretly brainwashed 16 children as young as 11 through terrorism role play and exercises. 

On June 20, 2023, Haque appeared for day one of a three-day Teaching Regulation Agency hearing which met to decide whether he should be banned from the profession. 

Representing himself at the hearing, Haque started to provide mitigating evidence such as that he was only in his early 20s at the time of his actions. 

Haque, now 31, was interrupted and told he would have a chance to offer mitigation at a later stage in the hearing. 

However, he decided not to attend the hearing on day two or three so his full mitigation went unheard. 

Haque also told the panel: “It does not bother me an inch that the Teaching Regulation Agency seek to impose upon me a lifetime ban from teaching for indeed I will merely be re-employed by The Islamic Caliphate (The Islamic State) in the future…” 

Haque was employed at the Lantern of Knowledge fee-paying Islamic school from April 2015 until January 2016.

Romford Recorder: The Lantern of Knowledge School in Lindley Road, Leyton - Picture: Google MapsThe Lantern of Knowledge School in Lindley Road, Leyton - Picture: Google Maps (Image: Archant)

The panel heard evidence from a pupil who was taught by Haque who said the teacher was calm during lessons but would talk about ISIS and terrorism incidents on the news concerning ISIS around once or twice a week. 

The pupil said he would also show them videos of “people having found someone and chopping his head off with a knife or sword”. 

The children were also shown videos of people with guns burning red passports in a fire, the hearing heard.

Haque used pupils as lookouts while these videos were on and would turn off the videos when another teacher was coming, it was told. He would also tell the pupils not to tell anyone. 

At the end of the three-day hearing the panel decided that he should be banned from teaching indefinitely. 

In 2018 Haque was convicted of engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts, engaging in preparatory acts with the intention of assisting others to commit acts of terrorism and disseminating a terrorist publication. 

At his Old Bailey trial the jury were told that police and MI5 had been on to Haque since he tried to travel to join IS in Syria in April 2016 but was stopped at Heathrow.  

In bugged conversations he 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.”  

His handwritten hit list included the Queen’s Guard, courts, Transport for London, Shia Muslims, City banks, Heathrow, Parliament, Big Ben, the media, embassies and the English Defence League or Britain First.  

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”.  

One of the youngsters later told police: “Umar has been teaching us how to fight, do push-ups, given strength and within six years he was planning to do a big attack on London.  

“He wants a group of 300 men. He’s training us now so by the time I’m in Year 10 [aged 14-15] we will be physically strong enough to fight.” 

When he was sentenced, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said Haque wanted to do “something big” and his ambition was “extreme and alarming”.

He is a “very real” threat to the young and old alike, the judge said, adding: “Haque was a dangerous liar. 

“He is intelligent, articulate and persuasive, with an easy smile. He is narcissistic and clearly enjoys the power he wields over others.” 

The judge told Haque: “You have violated the Koran and Islam by your actions, as well as the law of all civilised people. It is hoped you will come to realise this.”