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On November 15, during his one-hour CNN Headline News special titled "Exposed: The Extremist Agenda," Glenn Beck described as "surprising" a letter by Islamic Society of Nevada director Aslam Abdullah criticizing Al Qaeda in Iraq. The reason it is surprising, according to Beck? Because "the man who wrote it is a Muslim." Abdullah criticized Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Hamza al-Muhajer for "abandon[ing] God" and accused the leaders of Al Qaeda of "hid[ing] in your caves and behind the faces of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq." Beck began the program "by airing some unbelievable propaganda used by extremists," and he pledged to devote the hour to those who "use religion to justify their hatred."
Beck's characterization of Abdullah's remarks as "surprising" because he "is a Muslim" echoed his comments on November 14. During an interview that day with Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), who became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress on November 7, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' " As Media Matters for America has noted, Beck previously warned that if "Muslims and Arabs" don't "act now" by "step[ping] to the plate" to condemn terrorism, they "will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West." He has also declared that "Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time" rather than "lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head" will face dire consequences.
From the November 15 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: A few months ago, my producers showed me a video of Islamic extremists leading a massive rally against Israel and the U.S. in the Middle East. It shocked me to my core. Not just because of the size of the crowds and the depth of their hatred, but it was beyond that.
Here I am. I'm a guy who's in the U.S. media, and I had never seen that video before. That is when I made the decision to create this hour-long special devoted to exposing everything that I had seen, and everything that you are not seeing.
In just a minute, we're going to start by airing some unbelievable propaganda used by extremists. But first, I want to make a couple of very important points about what you are going to see in the next hour.
Number one, you've heard me say this over and over again: I am not a journalist. More importantly, I don't pretend to be one. I have also been extremely honest with you every step of the way if you watch this program every night.
I am a conservative, so when you hear me talk about anything from politics to religion to, yes, Islamic extremists, you have to understand that I express my opinions fully, no matter what anybody else thinks, like it or not, right through that prism.
I also want to make it clear that this next hour is not balanced perspective on Islam or the Middle East, but it is an important part of the story. It has to be understood and seen if we're ever truly going to accomplish balanced coverage.
Finally, the video you are going to see tonight is from all over the Middle East, people that are involved in many different conflicts. But there is one common thread: They all use religion to justify their hatred. And it all starts with one of most important weapons that they have in their arsenal: the weapon of propaganda.
BECK: A couple of months ago, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq urged his supporters to each kill at least one American in the next 15 days. It was a shocking statement, but hardly surprising.
Then, just a few days later, I came across a response to that message of hate that was surprising. It said, "You hid in your caves and behind the faces of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. You have abandoned God and have started worshipping your own satanic egos that rejoice at the killing of innocent people."
Why do I say that statement, something that many of us agree with, is surprising? Because the man who wrote it is a Muslim. He lives right here in the United States.
BECK: Dr. Aslam Abdullah, he is the director of the Islamic Society of Nevada. He is the author of that powerful letter, and he joins me now.
Doctor, thank you so much for being a part of the program.
ABDULLAH: Thank you very much for having me on your show.