A Muslim radio station based in Derby has been fined £10,000 for broadcasting hate speech against the Ahmadiyya sect.
Radio Ikhlas, which operates in the Normanton area of Derby, was found to have aired “hatred” towards the controversial Ahmadiyya sect.
Following an Ofcom investigation, which concluded in March, the broadcast regulator announced last week its decision to fine the station.
The broadcast took place on Thursday 7 September 2017.
The Ahmadis, or more commonly known as the ‘Qadianis’, are a heretical sect who claim to be Muslim.
However, both Sunni and Shia Muslims consider the Ahmadis as non-Muslim because they do not believe that Prophet Muhammad was the final prophet of God.
According to Ofcom, the two-hour show featured a volunteer presenter receiving phone calls from listeners and discussing current affairs, specifically the religious persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
During the broadcast, there was a 21-minute segment, which commenced with the presenter stating that the programme was being broadcast on the anniversary of 7 September 1974 – the day on which the Pakistani National Assembly voted on a bill and constitutional amendment declaring the Ahmadi sect as non-Muslim.
The presenter said the Ahmadi sect were “enemies of Islam, enemies of Pakistan, and enemies of our religion”, as well as accusing the founder of the group, Mirza Ghulam of being “a liar”.
Ofcom published its decision in March after it found that it was “satisfied that the broadcast was about the Ahmadiyya community” and “that the target audience, which is primarily Pakistani, would have understood” the content.
In a response given to Ofcom, Radio Ikhlas said it “deeply regrets if anyone has been hurt or upset by this broadcast”.
The radio station also confirmed that the presenter had been fired and was informed that he had “breached Ofcom’s rules…in that he has used words like dangerous, hypocrites, enemies of Islam” which “could easily be perceived as singling out a certain religious community”.
Radio Ikhlas published an apology on Monday 9 October 2017.
However, Ofcom ruled that the licensee breached three clauses of the Broadcasting Code which were seen as “reckless” and “serious”.
A decision to revoke Radio Ikhlas’ licence was considered but Ofcom found that the station had taken “sufficient steps” to make sure its policies were not breached, including a “refresher training” to inform presenters of broadcasting guidelines.
In addition to the £10,000 fine, Ofcom has ordered the station to broadcast a statement of the regulator’s findings.