Regulator warns educational charity that allowed terrorist propaganda to be shown to children

A teacher at a school run by the Lantern of Knowledge Educational Trust showed a video promoting Daesh to a class of 18 students, the Charity Commission finds

The Charity Commission has issued an official warning to the trustees of an educational charity that allowed terrorist propaganda to be shown to children.

The regulator said in an inquiry report on Friday that the Lantern of Knowledge Educational Trust, which has objects of advancing Islam and runs an independent secondary school in east London, found that a teacher at the school showed a propaganda video about the proscribed terrorist organisation Daesh to a class of children.

The teacher, Umar Ahmed Haque, was employed by the charity on a part-time basis between April 2015 and January 2016.

In March 2018, he was found guilty of multiple terrorism charges and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The charges did not relate to Haque's time at the charity and the jury in the case was unable to reach a verdict on an allegation of disseminating terrorist material to children.

He had admitted to showing the video, but pleaded not guilty to the charge because he said during the trial that he did not believe showing one video would have led to any of the 18 children in the class committing acts of terror in the future.

The commission found that on his application form for the job at the school, Haque said he had not received any cautions or convictions, but a background check carried out by the charity found he had convictions from November 2014 and June 2015.

“Despite this, the inquiry saw no evidence whatsoever to show that he was challenged as to why he had falsely declared he had no convictions or cautions on his application,” the regulator said.

The commission said the charity’s trustees had said they had not been involved in Haque’s recruitment and were not aware of his prior convictions.

It said the charity had since changed its staff recruitment procedure to ensure trustees had oversight of the application and interview process.

The regulator concluded that the charity’s trustees had been responsible for mismanagement and/or misconduct and issued them with an official warning.

The commission said it had directed the charity’s trustees to carry out a review of the organisation’s governing document, to ensure they comply with independent school standards and to file the charity’s annual report and accounts for the financial year ending 30 September 2019 on time.

The commission said that since its engagement with the charity it had made improvements to its safeguarding and management practices.

The charity did file its 2018/19 accounts with the regulator on time.

Tim Hopkins, assistant director for investigations and inquiries at the commission, said: “Umar Haque’s action at this charity was appalling. It is completely unacceptable for any charity to be associated with terrorism and we are concerned by the corrosive effect this might have on public confidence in this and other charities.

“We expect the trustees of this charity to learn from the failings set out in our report, and to comply with the required actions to strengthen the charity’s administration. We will closely monitor the trustees’ compliance with these actions.”

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