Leeds & West Yorkshire

Radio Asian Fever fined £4,000 over homophobic remarks

A community radio station has apologised after a presenter labelled homosexuality "evil" and said gay people should be beaten and tortured.

The comments were made on programmes on Radio Asian Fever in Leeds, which is presented by volunteers.

Ofcom said the programmes breached its broadcasting code as they included material which condoned or glamorised violent behaviour.

The station, which has been fined £4,000, said it was "very embarrassed".

'Shameful act'

The remarks were made by presenter Rubina Nasir on the Sister Ruby Ramadan Special on 17 and 18 August 2011.

Ofcom said she read out Qur'anic verses and gave her interpretation of those verses as being highly critical of homosexuality and mixed-faith marriages.

She said homosexuality was a "evil, shameful act" and in another broadcast said Muslims and non-Muslims entering mixed-faith marriages were going to "hellfire".

The station's managing director, Jabbar Karim, said the presenter would not be used by the station again.

He said: "We at Fever FM would like to sincerely apologise to the gay community and to everyone else who have found this news disturbing.

"This was a one-off incident which will never be repeated. One person does not represent our community station.

"Over the last five years of broadcasting we have educated, informed and entertained the local community of Leeds, we have helped to raise nearly half a million pounds for various charities and given our local communities in Leeds a platform for sharing their views and concerns.

"The management committee is very shocked, confused and embarrassed that such negative lectures were broadcast on our station, for this goes against all that we stand for."

Mr Karim said the station had "taken steps to talk to all our volunteers and educate them so they understand what they can and can't say".

As Radio Asian Fever is a community radio station broadcasting in Urdu to the Asian community in Leeds, Ofcom said the impact of the broadcasts may "have been somewhat tempered by the limited audience reach of the station".

"However, this does not lessen the seriousness of the breaches," it said.

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