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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 August 2005, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Calls to close dissident's radio
File photograph of Saudi dissident Muhammad al-Massari
Dr al-Massari defended the radio station broadcasts
MPs are calling on the government to close down a London-based radio station broadcasting in Iraq and Saudi Arabia calls for attacks on UK troops.

Tory MP Patrick Mercer said Al-Tajdeed Radio, run by Saudi dissident Dr Muhammad al-Massari, was "desperately demoralising" for UK troops in Iraq.

The view is shared by Labour MP Andrew Dismore. Regulator Ofcom said it had no control over broadcasts outside the UK.

Dr al-Massari said non-UK broadcasts had nothing to do with the government.

Deportation urged

Mr Mercer, shadow minister for homeland security, described the station as "extremely worrying" and said it should be shut down.

Dr al-Massari should certainly be brought in for interview and I strongly suspect that at the end of that he would be a prime candidate to be deported
Patrick Mercer

"To hear jihad talk, albeit in Arabic, being broadcast out to Iraq where you are trying to do your job as a soldier, a policeman or whatever, I think it must be desperately demoralising," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"It should be closed down."

Dr al-Massari was a "prime candidate to be deported", he added.

Mr Dismore has been seeking action against the Saudi dissident since 1998.

Dr al-Massari, who has lived in London since he sought asylum in the UK in 1994, has frequently declared that British troops in Iraq were legitimate targets and has posted videos of bomb attacks on them on his website.

His radio station carries similar views, as well as songs calling for Muslims to join a jihad, or holy war, against coalition forces.

New legislation

Dr al-Massari refused to be interviewed by Today but insisted that because his station was not broadcast in Britain, what he said on it had nothing to do with the UK government, BBC correspondent Mike Thomson said.

According to ClandestineRadio.com, the radio broadcasts are made in London then sent to either France or Holland where they are sent by satellite for broadcast in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

The Home Office would not comment on the radio station, but said forthcoming new anti-terror legislation would broaden police powers and enable them to charge those suspected of even indirectly inciting acts of terrorism.

A frequently heard voice on the station is that of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is thought to be al-Qaeda's military leader in Iraq.

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