Mark Twain said, “History tells us that the truth is not hard to kill, but a lie told well is immortal.”
“Kingdom of Heaven,” Ridley Scott’s extremely boring (so boring that film critics at the screening I attended fell asleep) movie version of the Crusades, is Twain’s words in action. Scott is serial killer of truth—giving immortality to 1,000 lies—in this propaganda film.
The wannabe-epic is being panned for its lack of accuracy by a host of Islam experts, like Robert Spencer. Crusades expert Jonathan Riley-Smith says it’s basically “Osama bin Laden’s version of History.”
But the folks at HAMAS-front group CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) and ADC (American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee) just love “Kingdom.” That speaks volumes, since both groups never met an Islamic terrorist group they didn’t like.
Perhaps Scott is doing penance for having the chutzpah to make “Black Hawk Down,” about which they still whine incessantly.
But one needn’t be versed in the history of the Crusades to see that this Riefenstahl-esque drama is agenda-laden fiction.
Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:
Christian Crusaders are crass, violent murderers. They lie, sleep around with multiple women, and father multiple illegitimate, abandoned children. They are stupid, foolish, power-hungry, and vengeful. They are boors warring for land, not principles, and kill fellow Christians—even priests—over nothing.
Muslims, especially Saladin, are honorable, devout, decent, peaceful people. They just want to be left alone and only attack when attacked upon. They are wise, honest, kind, generous, and even offer Christians safe passage.
The cinematography shows Muslims in prayer, though not as religious zealots. No such scenes for the Christians (or Jews), who are shown mostly drinking, sleeping around, and killing—they’re the religious zealots in this film.
One of “Kingdom’s” Crusade leaders declares: “To kill an infidel is not murder. It’s the path to Heaven.” Gee, I know a religion that proclaimed and practiced that from time immemorial through today—and it’s not Christianity. Hint: It begins with an “I,” ends with an “M,” and has an “S-L-A” in the middle. Nick Berg videos, anyone?
Balian’s father, Godfrey, a top knight of the Crusades, utters classy lines like this gem: “I once fought for two days with an arrow through my testicle.” I’m not making it up—that’s actually a line in “Kingdom.” (Liam Neeson, who plays Godfrey, is son-in-law to pro-Palestinian activist/actress Vanessa Redgrave. And maybe that’s analogous to such a bodily obstruction.)
Saladin exhibits no such crude behavior. But he gives his Crusader enemies ice and drink in the desert, nice chap that he is.
One Crusade leader declares, “At first I thought we were fighting for G-d, but we were only fighting for wealth and land.” Saladin’s fight, on the other hand, is noble.
“No-one has claim, all have claim” to Jerusalem, declares Orlando Bloom’s Crusader knight Balian, in a nod and a wink to today’s Palestinian agenda to make the city “universal.” Please note: Jerusalem is mentioned many more times in this movie than it is mentioned in the Koran (whence it is mentioned exactly zero times).
Saladin is depicted shedding tears over dead Crusaders, in contrast with a Crusade patriarch who declares about Christian deaths, “It is unfortunate about the people, but it is G-d’s will.”
Here’s a “Kingdom” reality check. The “chivalrous” Saladin was as intolerant and sadistic as they come. His principal secretary and historian, Imad ad-Din (who was gay) describes their view that “while several circles of hell prepared to receive Christians . . . the several ranks of heaven joyously anticipated the Muslim dead.”
Unlike his portrayal in “Kingdom,” Saladin:
- Personally beheaded many of the Crusaders living in and around Jerusalem, and watched while his soldiers cut the bodies to pieces to satisfy their lust for revenge;
- Sent poisoned wine and flour to a Greek leader to distribute to Crusaders;
- Fought violently with rival Shi’ite Muslims, dissecting one of their leaders, and keeping his hands and head as trophies (Saladin, a Kurd, was a Sunni);
- Persecuted Jews and Christians, denying them even the basic dignity of riding on horses or mules, requiring they ride in humiliation on donkeys and painful pack saddles. “Kingdom” shows Saladin allowing them to ride on horses. But even his own physician, the scholar Maimonides (a Jew) was forced to ride a donkey to and from Saladin’s palace. (Saladin stoned and blinded a Jewish doctor for daring to ride a horse, according to “Saladin and the Jews,” by E. Ashtor-Strauss.)
- Sowed the seeds for Muslim Crusades, resulting in the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Christians.
That’s the other interesting point “Kingdom” conveniently omits. At the time of Saladin, the 12th Century, there were Muslim Crusades in Spain and North Africa. This century-long massacre of Jews and Christians by the Berber al-Mohad Muslims (or al-Muwahideen), which began in 1113 AD, doesn’t exist in “Kingdom.” Yet it was so bad that “Sephardim” (Oriental Jews, primarily from Arab countries), who were once the majority of the Jews, were almost wiped out and remain a small minority, today. By the end, there were no churches or synagogues (or open Christians or Jews) anywhere in Western Islam.
Where is Ridley Scott’s epic about that?
It was so horrific that Saladin’s physician, Maimonides, wrote, “We were dishonored beyond human endurance. . . . This people, the Arabs . . . never did a nation molest, degrade, debase, and hate us as much as they. . . . No matter how much we suffer and elect to remain at peace with them, they stir up strife and sedition.”
“Kingdom’s” phony quote about Christian enthusiastically killing infidels? Here’s a real one from Saladin’s time, uttered by a Muslim historian: “It is permitted to kill the unfaithful or reduce them to slavery for opposing themselves to the true faith. . . . There were no Christians to be seen.”
It’s no coincidence that half the major Muslim actors in “Kingdom” also played terrorists in “The Hamburg Cell.” One of them, Alexander Siddig (who played 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed), is the nephew of a former Sudanese Prime Minister, who oversaw the wholesale Muslim torturous slaughter of Sudan’s Black Christians. “Kingdom’s” version of events is Al-Qaeda’s and Sudan’s excuse for their contemporary, bloody terrorist crusades.
Remember, Wallid Shatter, the indignant Muslim Secret Service agent who had a tantrum when he was refused an American Airlines flight? He was reading “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes.”
Why was he reading this book, and why do “American” Islamist groups love this movie? Because “Kingdom’s” version of the Crusades is their justification for the continuing terrorism and hate displayed by millions of Muslims worldwide against the rest of us. And they don’t want to move on.
Attention Muslims & Ridley Scott: The crusades happened a thousand years ago. Get over it.