Thomas Woods, author of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, writes in RedState.org:
I was stunned to hear Islamic anti-defamation groups condemn Scott’s “Kingdom of Heaven.”
The Muslims appear much nobler than the Christians in the film, and on the Christian side the only remotely sympathetic characters are at best agnostic. Jonathan Riley-Smith, an expert on the Crusades, described the movie as “rubbish” for just this reason – the film, he says, is “not historically accurate at all” in its depiction of “the Muslims as sophisticated and civilized, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality.”
More important than the film itself, though, is the history behind the Crusades themselves. Moviegoers who knew little of the period walked away with a distorted understanding of the Crusades that played into politically correct stereotypes.
Proper context for the Crusades must begin at the beginning, with the First Crusade (1096-1099). Yet – and here is the point – even the First Crusade was not the real beginning of the story.
The real beginning came in the century following the death of Muhammad in 632. During that incredible hundred years, Muslims spread their religion by force throughout Arabia, and into the modern Middle East, including Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, as well as into Egypt, north Africa, and Spain. Further progress into Western Europe was stopped cold by Charles Martel and his Frankish warriors at the battle of Poitiers/Tours in 732.
It is easily forgotten that some of these territories had been heavily Christian when the Muslims took them over. No one today thinks of Syria and Egypt as Christian centers, but in the seventh century they certainly were. The ancient city of Antioch had been home to a school of Christian thought second only to that of Alexandria, and Egypt had been the birthplace of Christian monasticism…
Read it all.