11 August 2021, 08:28 | Updated: 11 Aug 2021, 08:41
A Sheffield radio station could face sanctions after broadcasting a song containing “jihadist lyrics,” according to broadcast regulator Ofcom.
Four complaints were made to the watchdog after Link FM broadcast a “Nasheed” on two breakfast shows in December 2020.
Described as a “call to action,” the Nasheed was called “Jundallah” and contained “jihadist lyrics” that “promoted terrorism,” listeners said.
The station licensee said he understood a violation had taken place and apologized for what he said was a mistake.
An Ofcom report said it understood Nasheeds to be a “well-established expression of the Islamic faith” which had a “benign religious message and no violent connotation.”
But he added that a recent form of chanting, called “Jihadi Nasheed”, has a “tone and tenor of war and can be used to create a violent narrative of Jihadi”.
Ofcom said it translated Nasheed’s words and concluded that it had broken two of its codes in the broadcast code.
Ofcom said: “After carefully evaluating the lyrics … we considered that they communicated a comprehensive message to listeners who sought to tolerate, promote and encourage violent jihad as a legitimate expression of the Islamic faith and glorify an ideology associated with jihad, including martyrdom.
“Nasheeds which contain messages like Jundallah’s are used by terrorist groups to attract potential recruits.
“Ofcom therefore considered the content to be tantamount to an indirect call to action which could potentially encourage or incite the commission of a crime or cause disturbance.”
The regulator added: “Therefore, our decision is that we are prepared to consider these violations for the imposition of a legal sanction.”
Pakistan Muslim Center (PMC), the licensee of the radio station, wholeheartedly (apologized) for the error and understood that a breach of the code had taken place.
The PMC added that it was an “unfortunate incident … and one that we hope not to repeat in the future”.
He said the presenter, who did not speak Arabic, was “extremely sorry and horrified” after reading the Ofcom translation, and he took the presenter’s explanation in good faith. The Nasheed had not been verified before it aired, the PMC said.
He concluded that he did not need to report what had happened to the police or to Prevent. He declined to comment further.