The trustees at an east London mosque that employed a dangerous extremist who attempted to build an army of child jihadists have been stripped of safeguarding responsibilities by the charity watchdog.
The Charity Commission has installed a specially appointed interim manager at the Ripple Road mosque to take over procedures for the protection of children, as the regulator investigates its links to the convicted terrorist Umar Haque.
Haque, 25, taught an Islamic studies class at the mosque, also known as Essex Islamic Academy, despite having no teaching qualifications and being employed as an administrator. He was allowed to supervise classes of 11- to 14-year-olds on his own, during which he re-enacted attacks on police officers and showed students videos of beheadings.
The commission, which has been investigating the mosque since October 2017 has temporarily appointed Jonathan Burchfield to implement safeguarding procedures.
Burchfield, a lawyer at Stone King, will also be responsible for ensuring all current trustees, staff and volunteers have understood safeguarding procedures and completed relevant training. He will also review its financial controls and policies.
However, the trustees will continue to control day-to-day running of the mosque, which has charitable status.
Haque was convicted by a jury at the Old Bailey in March of a number of offences, including plotting terrorist attacks. He had previously admitted four charges of collecting information useful for terrorism and one count of disseminating a terrorist document in relation to his attempts to radicalise children at the mosque.
Counter-terrorism police said Haque’s plan was to “build an army of children” who he had tried to prepare for martyrdom by making them role-play terrorist attacks.
He was also involved in running evening classes in a madrasa based in a large marquee attached to the mosque in Ripple Road in late 2016 and early 2017.
He told the boys, aged about 12 to 14, that he had established contact with Isis and showed them a series of videos projected on to the wall inside the marquee, ensuring the doors were closed.
The images included blood, wounds and people falling from buildings. One film showed the exhumation of a boy. Haque told the children the child’s body had deteriorated because he had been beaten after death when he was unable to answer questions put to him by angels.
He also had the children in the madrasa doing push-ups, running races and grappling with each other in order to train them.
There were sessions of role-playing during which the children would be divided into police and attackers, and there were demonstrations of how to sever a head. Haque used the Westminster Bridge attack by Khalid Masood last March as inspiration for the role-play.
He said he intended to teach the children to drive as they got older so he could carry out attacks across London. He forced them take an oath not to tell their parents, friends or teachers, and it is claimed he aimed to recruit 300 jihadists.