An Islamic radio station has been taken off air for broadcasting more than 25 hours of lectures by the controversial American/Yemeni cleric Anwar Al Awlaki who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.
Sheffield-based Iman FM had its licence suspended by Ofcom for playing the lectures by the cleric who became an Al Qaeda leader and encouraged attacks on U.S. civilians. The regulator said parts of the material was “likely to encourage or incite crime or lead to disorder.”
Iman FM told Ofcom it was not aware of Awlaki’s background.
While he was based in America Awlaki gained a reputation as a thoughtful, erudite and moderate cleric. But after he was imprisoned in Yemen his rhetoric became far more radical and he appeared to condone terrorism.
Ofcom said information about Awlaki’s alleged terrorist links was “freely available.”
It launched an investigation of the station after a member of the public complained about the content of the lectures.
The station said it had downloaded and broadcast Awlaki’s lectures during Ramadan – 26 May to 24 June – despite not having listened to them in their entirety beforehand.
In a statement it said: “This is to inform you that IMAN FM has temporarily stopped broadcasting, this has resulted due to the regulator suspending its licence for the next 21 days, on the basis that unwittingly some controversial lectures were broadcast.
“Please note that we are trying our level best to remedy this situation and look forward to broadcasting as soon as possible. We thank you for your continued support in the mean time.”