British Muslim radio station says it broadcast 25 hours of Al-Qaeda lectures by ‘mistake’

Anwar Al-Awlaki (Reuters)
Updated 09 July 2017

British Muslim radio station says it broadcast 25 hours of Al-Qaeda lectures by ‘mistake’

JEDDAH: A British radio station that broadcasts content for Muslims risks being closed down after transmitting 25 hours of sermons from the Al-Qaeda preacher Anwar Al-Awlaki.

Britain’s radio regulatory authority Ofcom suspended Sheffield-based Iman FM’s broadcasting license after receiving complaints about the transmissions, which the watchdog said “amounted to a direct call to action to members of the Muslim community to prepare for and carry out violent action against non-Muslim people.”

The managers of Iman FM deny that they intentionally broadcast lectures by Al-Awlaki – who was killed in a US drone strike in 2011 — calling for a holy war.

The lectures were broadcast on June 14 in English. In one, Al-Awlaki states: “Prepare whatever strength you have for holy war in the cause of Allah. This is a form of worship.”

Under British broadcasting rules hate speech is not permitted on television or radio programs, unless it is in context.

It is well documented that Al-Awlaki was an American Muslim cleric of Yemeni descent, and an Al-Qaeda leader, recruiter and trainer.

It is widely reported that Al-Awlaki inspired the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, plans to blow up a US passenger jet, and the Fort Hood massacre in Texas, that left 13 dead.

The station’s managers say they found the content on YouTube and broadcast it during Ramadan, but said they did not know the precise content of the lectures. Ofcom dismissed the station’s claims, saying their explanation was “not credible.”

The management at Iman FM have been given 21 days to explain their actions, or risk the permanent closure of the station.

Iman FM’s chief executive, Mohammad Mughal, said: “This is very, very sad because none of us had any idea this lecture was preaching hatred… We are not just a Muslim radio station — we regularly feature Christian presenters.”

Facebook’s Zuckerberg: No plans to resign

Updated 21 November 2018

Facebook’s Zuckerberg: No plans to resign

  • Facebook has stumbled from one mess to another this year
  • Zuckerberg defended his company against the broader wave of flak it has taken this year

WASHINGTON: Embattled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday he has no plans to resign, sounding defiant after a rough year for the social platform.
“That’s not the plan,” Zuckerberg told CNN Business when asked if he would consider stepping down as chairman.
He also defended Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who has drawn criticism over her handling of the social media giant’s recent crises.
“Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts for a lot of the biggest issues we have,” said Zuckerberg.
“She’s been an important partner to me for 10 years. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done together and I hope that we work together for decades more to come.”
Facebook has stumbled from one mess to another this year as it grappled with continuing fallout from Russia’s use of the platform to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which user data was harnessed in a bid to help candidate Donald Trump, and a huge security breach involving millions of accounts.
Most recently, an investigative piece published last week by The New York Times said Facebook misled the public about what it knew about Russia’s election meddling and used a PR firm to spread negative stories about other Silicon Valley companies and thus deflect anger away from itself.
“It is not clear to me at all that the report is right,” Zuckerberg said of the Times article.
“A lot of the things that were in that report, we talked to the reporters ahead of time and told them that from everything that we’d seen, that wasn’t true and they chose to print it anyway.”
Zuckerberg also defended his company against the broader wave of flak it has taken this year.
“A lot of the criticism around the biggest issues has been fair, but I do think that if we are going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well, which is that we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering us,” he said.
“There are big issues, and I’m not trying to say that there aren’t ... But I do think that sometimes, you can get the flavor from some of the coverage that that’s all there is, and I don’t think that that’s right either.”