Ilford headteacher struck off after allowing London Bridge terrorist Khuram Butt to 'radicalise' primary school children
PUBLISHED: 08:06 13 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:21 13 July 2018
An Ilford headteacher who let a London Bridge terrorist attempt to radicalise her primary school pupils has been banned from the classroom for life.
Sophie Rahman of Eton Community School, Oxford Road, allowed Khuram Butt, 27, to deliver after-school classes about Jihad, the Qu’ran and non-believers.
He taught the young children alone for two hours, up to three times a week and his final class was the day before he killed eight people and injured 48 in London on Saturday, June 3, 2017, with his accomplices Youssef Zaghba and Rachid Redouan.
All three were shot by armed police.
A Teaching Regulation Agency professional conduct panel heard that Butt had taught children that ‘the worst creatures are the Kuffar (non-believers)’.
He told the pupils it was ok to lie to their parents when there was a state of war or if they didn’t want to upset them.
The panel heard evidence from witnesses who knew or assessed the children targeted at the independent Muslim day school- formerly known as Ad-Deen Primary School.
One witness was “alarmed” that Butt spoke to the children about “war” and said she is in “no doubt he was referring to Jihad (holy war).”
The panel noted that Butt employed “grooming behaviour” and manipulative language typical of abusers who “try and create trust and build unhealthy relationships with young people”.
“By her failure to safeguard her pupils’ interests, Ms Rahman left them potentially vulnerable to grooming for radicalisation,” the report said.
Rahman also misled police about a relationship with a person referred to as ‘Individual S’, who was linked to a jihadist group.
He had been the proprietor of the school and belonged to Al-Muhajiroun before it became a banned organisation.
He was also the father of Rahman’s children.
A Metropolitan Police witness told the panel that Individual S and Butt attended the same gym at Ummah Fitness Centre, St Luke’s Avenue, Ilford.
Individual S was part of the management of the gym, Butt worked at the gym and led prayers there, and the three terrorists met at the gym shortly before the attacks.
“On the balance of probabilities, Ms Rahman knew or ought to have known or had a reasonable opportunity to become aware that Mr Butt was connected to members or former members of Al- Muhajiround, including Individual S,” the conduct panel report read.
She also hired Butt even though he had a caution for a violent offence and provided no references.
In the wake of the London Bridge atrocity, Rahman emailed Redbridge Council stating that Butt had been a volunteer at an after-school club and had contact with six children on a weekly basis.
The panel said this report was “deliberately misleading” and that the number of pupils Butt had contact with was higher.
“Her obfuscatory behaviour was, in the view of the panel, calculated to frustrate the investigations by the local authority and the police,” it read.
“This was described by both Witness B and Witness C as, ‘disguised compliance’, and the panel agrees with this definition of her behaviour.”
In addition, it was noted that the headteacher took 41 days to comply with a request from authorities to provide them with a correct register of participants.
In his final few paragraphs of the report, decision maker Alan Meyrick on behalf of the secretary of state said: “Ms Sophie Rahman is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
“Furthermore, in view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against her, I have decided that Ms Sophie Rahman shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of her eligibility to teach.
This order takes effect from the date on which it is served on the teacher.”
She has 28 days to lodge an appeal to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.