RADICAL: Iman FM told Ofcom they were not aware of Anwar al-Awlaki extremist background
RADICAL: Iman FM told Ofcom they were not aware of Anwar al-Awlaki extremist background

Community radio station taken off air by Ofcom for broadcasting over 25 hours of lectures by an alleged al-Qaeda leader

A Sheffield-based radio station, Iman FM, had its licence suspended by Ofcom for playing the lectures by radical American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

The regulator said parts of the material were “likely to incite or encourage the commission of crime or to lead to disorder.”

Iman FM told Ofcom it was not aware of Awlaki’s background.

The station said it had listened to 12 hours of the audio, which it “judged to be within the parameters of the Broadcasting Code”, but only samples of the remainder were checked.

The licensee said it had not listened to all of the lectures because of time constraints, it being a small radio station and the broadcasts happening during Ramadan.

Given the nature and seriousness of the breach, Ofcom has today Ofcom therefore exercised its powers under section 111B of the Broadcasting Act 1990 to suspend Iman FM’s licence.

In 2011 the United Nations Security Council described Awlaki as a “leader, recruiter and trainer for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”

His sermons are thought to have inspired terrorist attacks including the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris in 2015 in which 12 people died and the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, in which 13 US soldiers were killed.

Awlaki was killed in a US drone strike in 2011.

Iman FM released a statement saying it had temporarily stopped broadcasting as a result of the regulator suspending its licence for the next 21-days on the basis that they unwittingly broadcast some controversial lectures.

Adding they are “trying their level best to remedy this situation and look forward to broadcasting as soon as possible.”