The Crusades: An Arab Perspective

2016 ,    »  -   20 Comments
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6.04
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Ratings: 6.04/10 from 106 users.
Storyline

An ambitious four-part documentary produced by Al Jazeera, The Crusades: An Arab Perspective features handsome production values, convincing historical reenactments and a wealth of revealing information on this much dissected period of world history.

The first episode sets the groundwork for one of history's most infamous and lengthy conflicts.The filmmakers illustrate a stark contrast between the Western European Christians, who struggled greatly through poverty and injustice, and the Muslims who resided in a Holy Land rife with political unrest and religious tensions. We witness how an empowering speech given by Pope Urban II in November of 1095 set the stage for military conflict, and soon led to the conquest of Jerusalem four years later.

Muslim rulers had reigned supreme in the region for over four centuries prior to this shattering loss. Episode two traces their rise from the ashes of defeat. Galvanized into action, the Muslim people embarked on a jihad against the Crusaders, regained territories with great determination and efficiency, and claimed a well-fought victory by the end of the Second Crusade in 1149.

Episode three begins with another major Muslim victory, the Battle of Hattin, which led to the recapture of Jerusalem and represented a significant weakening of Crusader forces. Two years later, the Third Crusade was born. This three-year conflict ended with the signing of a peace treaty granting Muslims control of the holy city while maintaining Christian visitation rights.

The Crusades may have come to an end, but the fight against Western occupation did not. The final episode considers the lasting remnants of these conflicts as it relates to events in their immediate aftermath all the way to 20th century, including the formation of the state of Israel in 1948.

Sprinkled throughout the film are enlightening interviews with a panel of noted historians and academics. Collectively, their insights serve as a terrific compliment to the impressive reenactment footage as they work to interpret the motivations of all involved and to separate fact from folklore.

The Crusades: An Arab Perspective is an impressive achievement that manages to play more like a riveting sword and sandals saga than a dry and studious documentary.

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20 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Gladys Matar

    I do not believe in Aljazeer news or anything this station shows on its bloody screen . this TV channel lied enough to the public and falsify the truth . enough is enough.

  2. rambo919

    "fight against Western occupation"?
    The fight was about reclaiming the eastern roman empire territories under muslim occupation.... there were no victims in this conflict other than the civillians caught in it.

  3. Susan

    Reading Gladys' comment above made me sad. As a white westerner I too have been indoctrinated since a child to believe that anything contrary to my paradigm is "wrong", or "a lie". That is simply not true. Al Jazeera lies no more and no less than any other mainstream media outlet. Al Jazeera's reporting on Syria was absolutely shameful as they perpetuated the false western narrative. However their reporting on Israel and Palestine is accurate. In this age of disinformation it is incumbent on us, the readers, to obtain news from several sources, and decide for ourselves. But to close one's eye to the truth, or another person's experience of the truth, is all that is wrong with the world today.

  4. GG

    @Gladys Matar
    humans lie, media lies. You could, if interested in the topic, watch the documentary and do your own research. Cheers!

  5. J Dominic

    One of the best News Channels in the world. Their interviews and discussions are incisive an informative. They also produce very good documentaries on many topics around the world.

  6. John turner

    It's bad enough that we have to put up with lying western rhetoric! But this is just pathetic ! Straight out propaganda on a minuscule budget ! Production values stink ! Costumes settings pathetic ! Arab Scholars? Make Donald trump look and sound like a saint! You would think with all the oil money bouncing around AlJazera they could at least amuse ! Blah there's enough material in the history as it's stands to make Arab culture look good absolutely useless and embarrassing to have such rubbish foisted on me ! What a waste of the minuscule budget that was spent on it ! - 5 out of 10

  7. Astraea

    I too distrust al Jazeera, which I understand is almost just a branch of the BBC - but I am really pleased to find this film giving the Arab perspective, even if not quite accurate. I look forward to more. History is fascinating in any case but more importantly, it is so refreshing to be able to look at another point of view when seeking Truth. Finding TRUTH is what counts. ps. I recommend the book by Ashraf Ezzat called "Egypt Knew No Pharaophs or Israelites." The Bible Unearthed. by Israel Finkelstein and the Youtube video called The Walls Come Tumblin' Down. made by John McCarthy who was held hostage in Beirut for fivc years of solitary confinement and who had nothing whatever to do but read the Bible provided by his captors. It is VERY interesting.
    Please also look into Ashraf Ezzat's website The Israelis or those presently occupying Palestine have NO HISTORICAL CLAIM ON JERUSALEM.
    The Semitic Jews actually origninated in Yemen and there they had a city called something like "Salem" - and that is actually their home and they never actually had any claim on either Canaan or Palestine - or Jerusalem!

  8. SharonH

    Since its murderous beginnings Islam has waged war almost constantly against the West. The Crusades were carried out to push them back whence they came. Even Vlad Tepes, almost acting alone, attempted to stave them off from marching into what is now Eastern Europe.
    The Middle East has been waging war against each other going back into antiquity. Anyone not realizing this has to go back about 2000 years and up to the present day. Land has always been moving between this or that country in that area of the world. The trouble with the Western mind is that it cannot comprehend the mindset of these people. Al Jazerra is just as bad as any major media outlet.

  9. thesaren

    Astraea,
    You poor ignorant, you claim to be fascinated by History, but you obviously, still have everything to learn about it. You are even more bias that Al Jazeera, who from the onset of the documentary proves by the language of its narrative, its’ clear cut subjectivity. It speaks of five centuries of Muslim wars to conquer all of the Middle-Est, a good part of Europe and all of North Africa, spreading like a wild fire, killing everyone that did not submit to their will, and decimating entire tribes and populations, simply as “the entire region had fallen under firm Muslim control” like if we were speaking of a natural disaster. But when it is attacked by the west, then it is “two hundred years of blood shade and murder”.
    At lease Al Jazeera presents the documentary as “viewed by the Arabs”, so obviously to be taken with a grain of salt and learn what you may. But you the intellectual, you obviously pick and choose what you want to hear to support your bias. Israel Finkelstein in his book and documentary raised doubts as to the Hebrews ever being slaves in Egypt, but never even suggested a denial of the Temple of Jerusalem, and others alike structures in Israel, Judea and Samaria, as temples of the Hebrews, “the Jews”.
    Soon you'll be saying that the Holocaust also never happened. Won't you?

  10. menckensman

    Interesting. Who can say where exaggeration, falsehood, and fact lay? This is very old, blurred, emotional history. And, there are at least two partisan accounts, (East & West) as to what may or may not have occurred.
    All that can be known with certainty is the religious nature of this on going conflict. Extirpate superstition, (religion + ignorance) and we might slow, confine, or even stop our relentless march toward self annihilation.
    Uneducated, biased opinions are easy enough to find...as the comments here evince.

  11. Gregory

    Gladys, are you thinking of Fox News? Actually, I am not hearing much from the Arab point of view. That the Crusaders were self interested murderers and deluded religious fanatics seems uncontroversial from just about any prospective.

  12. Lucien

    Arab propaganda... not worth anythin.

  13. j

    This would have been a much more enjoyable documentary if instead of the text, audio translations were included. This is true of many documentaries. Filmakers, please be aware that many of us watch on very small screens!!

  14. came here for the butthurt christians/catholics

    Didn't find as many as I thought I would.

  15. Maciek

    A 1400 Years of Islamic wars, jihad and just a few defensive battles from Christians, that is basically whole story in the nutshell.
    Best documentary/ interview with plenty new facts based on history and science you can find in great video called "Why We Are Afraid, A 1400 Year Secret, by Dr Bill Warner Ph.D".

  16. stan wasserman

    Typical cowardly response by people who don't read and watch more reality shows than news. ( Arab propaganda,i don't believe,) the all to common cry's of the uneducated when presented wit truth. Funny thing is these same hypocrites will believe anything out of Israel no matter how false or unproven it is. Sad really and I'm an atheist so i speak with an honest and clear mind.

  17. frank

    First leaving any and all principles, ethics, and morality out this is a terribly made film, it's, offensive, and so bad they could not even find a single English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Scandinavian speaking actor in the film. It's starts by attempting to give an account of how Europeans lived showing a scene with a European mother singing to her child Podo, wishing for death because life in Europe in so unbelievably miserable with a professor from some prominent Arab school telling us the worst stats of the time.
    As a journalist and a former diplomat who has spent the majority of my life working to insure justice and dignity to all people this is pure PROPAGANDA!! Not only propaganda but it seems they were able to find a few European looking caucasians to play serfs and people in utter poverty but the actors playing European royalty suddenly their ethnic origin becomes very obviously middle-eastern not only in looks but in physical cultural idiosyncratic expression that quite distinctly emanate from the middle east.
    This is racist trash.
    AlJazeera has done well in producing ethically balanced worlds news programming but this is as bad as it gets!!!

  18. Scott

    Considerable effort and successful production. A different angle to look at things. Raises new question marks and feeds curiosity, indeed.

  19. Ramsey

    Guys, let's clarify some things: The show is, as is clearly stated, presenting history from an Arab perspective. History may involve tangible evidence, scientific methodology, etc., but as it is with the things we don't experience directly, this information is relayed to us by someone who interprets it from a certain perspective. They are not claiming to provide objective truths or a "this is how it really happened" scenario. I think the intention is rather about relaying how people on the other side experienced and felt about the events. In this sense, what I'm saying is, history is often written by the victors so it's great to get another point of view. Our history is, after all, what has contributed to much animosity nowadays, and I always find it helpful to break past our 'self-serving bias' (too lazy to explain, research it if interested) if we can just push ourselves to see past dogma, media fabrication and a neocolonial bias. It's equally important to ask the question (of everything that you are told or taught): Why am I being told this specific thing as opposed to something else? Who selected the information presented and what are they trying to convey? Why is it presented in this way? Who does the information serve?

    That said, the show is more about how the crusades were experienced, not a factual account - therein lies its value. Don't assume that they're presenting facts - rather, they present their interpretations and experiences, and if that brings us a step closer to understanding one another then bloody hurray, it's about damn time.

  20. ragnar

    "their land"
    "Western occupation"
    Biased Muzzie shit.
    FYI the middle East was CHRISTIAN before Islam came about. The religion o peace managed to drop the Christian population by single percentages per year until the EBIL EUROPEAN CHRISTIANS "invaded" "their" land

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