Sheffield radio station which 'broadcast lectures by al-Qaeda leader' is taken off air for good

Anwar al Awlaki. Picture: Wiki Commons
Anwar al Awlaki. Picture: Wiki Commons

A Sheffield community radio station will not be returning to the airwaves after Ofcom revoked it licence.

The media regulator said Iman FM was 'unfit to hold a broadcasting licence' after it the station played out more than 25 hours of lectures of alleged al-Qaeda leader, Anwar al Awlaki.

The station had been temporarily off-air since July 4 and the regulator found 'extremely serious breaches of the Broadcasting Code.

Ofcom said parts of the lectures by the radical American Muslim cleric were 'likely to encourage or incite crime or lead to disorder'.

Iman Media UK, the company behind the station, broadcasts over a three-mile radius across the city.

A spokesman from Ofcom said: "On 4 July, Ofcom exercised its powers under section 111B of the Broadcasting Act 1990 to suspend Iman FM’s licence.

"This followed extremely serious breaches of the Broadcasting Code, after it aired material likely to incite or encourage the commission of crime or to lead to disorder.

"Ofcom also has an ongoing duty to be satisfied that community radio licensees are fit and proper to hold a licence.

"Following both written and oral representations from Iman Media UK Limited, Ofcom has decided that it is necessary in the public interest to revoke the licensee’s Broadcasting Act licence, and that the licensee is unfit to hold a broadcast licence.

"The service has been off-air since July 4 and will not be reinstated."

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.

The station previously 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.

Iman FM broadcast a show on 23 June that condemned the lectures and apologised to listeners.

Iman FM has been contacted for a comment.