Popular Arab TV Program Exposes the Real Al Qaeda

The show is called "Death Making" in Arabic, hardly the way Al Qaeda probably wants itself described.

But that is how the powerful pan-Arabic satellite channel Al Arabiya casts the terror organization and its foot soldiers in its popular television program.

Hosted by female correspondent Rima Salha, the Dubai-based show is heading into its third year on Al Arabiya and aims to influence how the Arab world views Al Qaeda.

Click here to see about "Death Making" on FOX's Special Report.

"As we know, there are lots of Muslims who are brainwashed so they believe in terrorism but there are also big sections of Muslims who sympathize with terrorists," says Salha. "We are targeting those people and trying to explain to them that terrorism is not a good thing."

It is a unique program that lets jihadists tell their stories, and then shows the results of their actions.

"It's not enough to tell you that Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization. You have to understand why, what it means, how everything works, and what the end goal is for them," Al Arabia's general manager Abdul Rahman al-Rashed explains.

For her work, Salha, who is Lebanese, gets death threats, including when Osama bin Laden's number two, Ayman al Zawahiri, singled the show and Al Arabiya out, by weaving video of both into one of his multi-media diatribes against mass media.

Al Rashed said that the video made "a lot of problems for Al Qaeda," because "they have different factions within Al Qaeda."

"There are a lot of programs debating the issue of terrorism, a lot of debating," says al Rashed. "But this is the only program with field trips, with special footage, with a lot of revelations in it."

Despite the threats, Salah is undeterred. She goes to the jihadists, where they are: in refugee camps off limits even to security forces and to Iraq. She and her team convince subjects to talk to them. It's not easy, but some of these militants apparently think they stand to benefit from a bit of publicity.

She's interviewed the family of the late leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq Abu Musab al Zarqawi and Kamal Habib who was one of the organizers of the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. Habib has since renounced violence and went on Salha's show critical of his old associate al Zawahiri's continued use of violence.

The topic of terrorism is so hot that Salha gets attacked from all sides.

"They accuse me of fighting jihad, they accuse me of destroying the image of Islam. This is not true. We are not distorting the image of Islam," says Salha. "The program is just trying to show some facts about terrorism and these so-called jihadists. Of course I receive threats on a regular basis, but that does not prevent me from doing my mission."

Peter Neumann, Author of "Old and New Terrorism" and the director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King's College says the fact that "Death Making" airs on an Arab television station is significant.

"From that point of view this is a very positive development which is likely to have an impact and further undermine the credibility and legitimacy of organizations like Al Qaeda," says Neuman.

"We also, n the show, highlighted victims of terrorism, and when I say victims, I also include the terrorists themselves and their family because they are also victims of brainwashing and radical views," says Salha.

She says though the name of the program is "Death Making," she hopes its effect is ultimately the opposite.

"We also target youngsters and the aim of the program, and I said, is to help try to get these poor people get over these radical views."