MANY of the charges levelled against Ridley Scott's forthcoming Kingdom of Heaven centre on its telling of the Crusades from a western perspective. In this it is not alone: most accounts of the Crusades have been told from a western point of view as scholarship from the Muslim viewpoint is in relative infancy. Understanding why this is requires a leap in perspective.
While icons such as Richard the Lionheart featured in childhood adventure stories and ideals of chivalry and honour are important to how we see our culture, Muslims do not single out the Crusades as an unprecedented, identity-defining event in their history. (MORE)