Primary school headteacher who hired London Bridge terrorist banned from classroom

Education

A headteacher who hired one of the London Bridge terrorist attackers to give after-school classes to primary age children has been banned from the profession after failing to safeguard her pupils. 

Khuram Butt told children that non-Muslims were the “worst creatures” and that they could lie to parents in a “state of war” after the school failed to make sufficient background checks.

Sophie Rahman – who was headteacher of Eton Community School, formerly known as Ad-Deen Primary School, in Ilford, east London – has been struck off for life after taking on Butt as a volunteer Arabic memorisation teacher at the independent Muslim school for pupils between 3 and 11.

A regulatory panel found that Butt had told an eight-year-old girl that “the worst creatures are the Kuffar (non-believers)” during his classes at the school – which closed in August last year. 

Butt also said it was okay for children to lie to their parents if “they do not want to upset them” or when “there is a state of war”, according to the report.

A mother of the children became “more and more horrified” about what Butt had said, the misconduct panel heard. The witness added: “Mention of the word war really alarmed me – if that is what Mr Butt was teaching there is no doubt he was referring to Jihad (holy war).’

Ms Rahman confirmed to the panel that the last day he taught the youngsters was 2 June last year.

The next day, Butt, along with two other terrorists, carried out the London Bridge terrorist attack, in which eight people died and 48 people were injured near Borough Market.

The Teaching Regulation Agency panel concluded that Ms Rahman should have known Butt was linked to members of Al-Muhajiroun – a proscribed extremist jihadist network. 

The report highlighted the fact the father of her children, who set up the school, had been a member of the group before it was proscribed.

It said Ms Rahman had hired Butt despite the fact that he lacked suitable qualifications or experience – he could not speak Arabic and was not a Hafiz (a person who has memorised the Quran) – and even though he had a caution for a violent offence and provided no references from previous employers. 

The panel said: “By her failure to safeguard her pupils’ interests, Ms Rahman left them potentially vulnerable to grooming for radicalisation.”

The panel concluded: “Ms Rahman displayed a complete lack of sense of urgency after she became aware that Mr Butt was an active participant in a major terrorist attack in the UK. 

“For example, she informed the authorities of Mr Butt’s involvement with the school and six pupils very soon after his involvement in the attack became public knowledge, but then took a further 41 days before complying, via her solicitors, with repeated requests by the authorities to produce a register of pupils and their details to the authorities.”

In the wake of the London Bridge atrocity, which left eight innocent people dead, Ms Rahman emailed the local authority stating Butt had been a volunteer at an after-school club, claiming he had contact with six children on a weekly basis.

Ms Rahman did not attend a hearing last month, where the panel found her conduct amounted to ”misconduct of a serious nature“ and that she was ”guilty of unacceptable professional conduct“.

”By her failure to safeguard her pupils’ interests, Ms Rahman left them potentially vulnerable to grooming for radicalisation,“ the report said.

In December 2017, Ms Rahman applied to teach at the Islamiyah High School for Girls, in Blackburn, where she worked under supervision until February 2018.

The education secretary’s representative Alan Meyrick accepted the panel’s recommendation that Ms Rahman should be barred from the teaching profession for life. 

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