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Muslims Call New Fox Crusader Film ‘Balanced ‘

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/25/05) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said today that the new 20th Century Fox epic “Kingdom of Heaven” is a “balanced” portrayal of the Crusades, despite earlier concerns that the film might offer stereotypical portrayals of Islam or Muslims. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) based its judgment on a private screening of the Sir Ridley Scott film at Fox studios in Los Angeles. “Kingdom” is scheduled to open in theaters nationwide May 6th. To watch a trailer of the film, go to: Representatives of CAIR’s Southern California office (CAIR-LA) and the group’s national headquarters took part in the screening.

They said the film, which focuses on the 12th century period between the Second and Third Crusades, highlights the humanity of characters on both sides of that centuries-long conflict. “Our overall impression is that ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is a balanced and positive depiction of Islamic culture during the Crusades,” said CAIR-LA Communications Director Sabiha Khan. “Muslims are shown as dignified and proud people whose lives are based on ethics and morality.” Khan said one of the film’s positive messages, that Muslims and Christians can live together in peace, will provide an opportunity for increased interfaith dialogue. “It is unfortunately a rare occasion when a Muslim filmgoer can leave the theater feeling good about a movie’s portrayal of Islam,” said CAIR National Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, who also attended the Los Angles screening.

“This film managed to show the horrors of war without associating those horrors with a particular faith or culture.” Ahmed thanked Fox for its screening of the film and for taking care to avoid religious stereotypes. Earlier this year, CAIR met with Fox television network officials over concerns about the depiction of a “Muslim” family at the heart of a terror plot in the drama series “24.” CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to:

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CONTACT: Sabiha Khan, 714-776-1847 or 714-390-0334, E-Mail:; Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:; Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726,

NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist’s window to the American Muslim community. Subscribers to the list, called ISLAM-INFONET, receive news releases and other materials dealing with American Muslim positions on issues of importance to our society.


CAIR Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E. Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833


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