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UK radio station closed after broadcasting Al Qaeda recruiter’s lectures

A British community radio station has been shut down after broadcasting 25 hours of lectures by an Al Qaeda recruiter.

Sheffield-based Iman FM claimed on Friday that its staff were “not aware of the background” of American hate preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011, the Independent reported.

The station broadcast a series of his lectures entitled “The Life of Mohammed” throughout the holy month of Ramadan in June, sparking complaints to broadcast regulator Ofcom.

Awlaki’s lectures included “a direct call to action to members of the Muslim community to prepare for and carry out violent action against non-Muslim people” and “statements clearly condoning and encouraging acts of crime, terrorism or violent behaviour”.

The regulator said the content, including calls for “virtuous jihad” and anti-Semitic statements, was in “serious breach” of the broadcasting code amounting to hate speech.

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,” a spokesperson said.

The service has been off-air since July 4 and will not be reinstated,” the Independent quoted the spokesperson as saying on Friday.

Iman FM also broadcast parts of Awlaki’s tirades that took aim at the mainstream media and Western society, which Ofcom said “aimed to undermine social cohesion”.