CAIRO (Reuters) – An Egyptian actor starring in a new Hollywood blockbuster set during the Crusades says it will enhance Western understanding of the Arab and Muslim world rather than underscore old stereotypes, as some had feared. Khaled El Nabawy expects “Kingdom of Heaven,” which portrays a 12th-century Christian-Muslim battle for Jerusalem, to advance rather than harm dialogue and understanding between the faiths. “It’s good timing. It’s time for the West to know more about us,” said the actor who plays a Muslim religious leader in the film by “Gladiator” director Ridley Scott due out in May. “We know more about the West than they know about us.
When you don’t know me, you’re going to judge me in a bad way, which is risky,” Nabawy told Reuters in Cairo. “We are not terrorists. We are very civilized and our history is a witness to this.” Kingdom is being tipped as one of the summer’s biggest movie releases and has a budget estimated at around $130 million. Some religious figures and academics are concerned that a film about the Crusades, a term once used by President Bush to describe the war on terror, will fuel the idea of an intractable clash of civilizations between East and West. They say it could fuel animosity toward Islam in the West and heighten suspicions of the West in the Muslim world, where the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have been portrayed by some as part of a war on Islam. (MORE) ALSO SEE: