Islamic State fanatic jailed for building 'mini militia' of child terrorists

An unqualified teacher who trained a "mini militia" of children for terrorist attacks in London has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years.

Islamic State (IS) fanatic Umar Haque, 25, planned to use guns and a car bomb to strike 30 high-profile targets including Big Ben, the Queen's Guard and Westfield shopping centre.

He enlisted helpers at the Ripple Road mosque in Barking, east London, where he secretly brainwashed 16 children as young as 11 through terrorism role play and exercises.

The boys have been left "traumatised" from being shown gory IS propaganda by Haque.

The defendant had also admitted playing an IS film to pupils at the Lantern of Knowledge fee-paying school in Leyton where he had worked, the Old Bailey heard.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said Haque wanted to do "something big" and his ambition was "extreme and alarming".

The worst aspect was the deliberate and sustained grooming of children to join a "mini militia" unbeknown to their parents who had paid for after school classes at the mosque.

He is a "very real" threat to the young and old alike, the judge said.

"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."

Haque ranted about "domination", "hunger and insecurity" as he was sent down.

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