Ofcom bans Iman FM radio station on the emissions of al-Qaeda cleric

A local radio station in Sheffield has been removed from the air by Ofcom after the broadcast of 25 hours of course by an alleged former al-Qaeda leader.

The media regulator, said Iman FM has been convicted of “very serious violations” of broadcasting code by broadcasting material that was likely to incite or encourage the commission of a crime or lead to disorder”.

Between 26 May and 16 June, the community radio station for broadcast of lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, a us-born radical Muslim cleric.

Al-Awlaki, killed in September 2011 by a drone strike approved by the former president, Barack Obama. Following al-Awlaki’s death, Obama said the cleric had “repeatedly called on individuals in the united States and around the world to kill innocent men, women and children to advance a murderous agenda”.

Ofcom has revoked Iman FM broadcasting licence in the Sheffield area. It is rare that the media regulatory body to carry a broadcasting licence because it has the duty to protect the right to freedom of expression.

Iman FM said it “fully accepted” that the violations have taken place, but insisted on Ofcom they were due to “carelessness, but not intent”.

The community radio station is managed by Iman Media UK and has been licensed since 2014. The station was first put off air on July 4, after a complaint filed by a member of the public has prompted the Ofcom investigation.

Iman FM, which stands for the Institute of Media Arts and Naats, says its mission statement is “the equipment of the generation to the cohesion of the society” and that the company was established by a group of individuals who are all passionate about media and whose main objective is to create a cohesion of the society, identify the needs of the community and propose solutions within the boundaries of the firm”.

Its chief executive is listed as Mohammed Shabbir Mughal, who has set up radio stations for the Muslim community in the Sheffield area since 2000, including RadioHajj.

Iman FM told Ofcom survey that it circulated to the class because the regular presenter for breakfast show was not available during the month of Ramadan.

He said he had done research on the internet for “lectures on the life of the Prophet Muhammad” and “lectures on Seerah [a form of biography which are often linked to Muhammad]” and that it was “not aware ” of the background of the preacher and had no knowledge of him being banned by the United Nations”. Iman FM has said that he would not disseminate the conferences “this fact is known”.

The radio station, who apologized to listeners in June, for broadcast, admitted that its compliance procedures have failed, saying that management was “probably catch up on sleep” when they were broadcast because they were observing their religious practices later in the evening.

However, in its judgment, Ofcom said: “Anwar al-Awlaki, the comments are not just polemics, or is it aggressive, it has made a direct appeal to members of the Muslim community to prepare for and carry out violent actions against non-Muslims. He also made indirect calls on members of the Muslim community to commit an act of violence, the apology and to encourage acts of crime, terrorism or violent behaviour.

“No attempt has been made by the licensee to the place of the states in a context to make them potentially less dangerous.

“Ofcom noted that the broadcast was the result of a failure to run basic checks of compliance with a significant amount of pre-recorded material prior to broadcast.

“There is no proof that the holder of the license in broadcasting, the content was to incite to crime or lead to disorder. However, the evidence is that the holder has acted very unwisely in the broadcasting breadth of content, she had not really listened or checked the source, and that this approach is significantly below the standards expected of a responsible broadcaster, including that which is managed by a team of volunteers.”

The management of the Iman FM, said: “We are disappointed with Ofcom’s decision to revoke our license. We are currently working with our legal team for all other options. We will not be making any further comment at this stage.”