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

Anwar Al-Awlaki (Reuters)
Updated 09 July 2017
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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.”


Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

Updated 18 June 2019
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Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

  • It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans
  • The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple

DUBAI: One of the Middle East’s favorite dishes has been featured in a Google Doodle as the site apparently took a break from the Women’s World Cup.

Google had been running a series of doodles about the major sporting event, but on Tuesday – apparently randomly - focused on what the search giant described as the “best thing that ever happened to chickpeas.”

We don’t know why they chose Tuesday to run the Doodle – June 12 having been International Falafel Day.  

But the Middle East’s claim to these mouthwatering balls of chickpeas, onions, herbs and spices is undeniable.

Here's a simple step-by-step guide to making falafels, posted by food blog Food Wishes:

It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans, about a thousand years ago, by Coptic Christians who ate them during lent as a meat substitute.

Another version of the story suggests that it goes further back to Pharaonic times – traces of fava beans were said to be found in the tombs of the Pharaohs, according to website Egyptian Streets, and that there were paintings from ancient Egypt showing people making the food.

The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple.

Over the years, many variations of falafel were invented, with global fast food chain McDonalds joining in the falafel craze with its McFalafel.

Popular Iraqi-American comedian Remy Munasifi, attracted more than 1.5 million views for a song about falafels he posted on his YouTube account “GoRemy.’