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Saladin was the Arab leader during the 3rd Crusade in which he soundly defeated the European invaders. His strong Muslim beliefs prevented him from the slaughter of innocents and demanded that all religions be tolerated in Jerusalem. This was very different from the violence brought upon the people of Jerusalem by the Europeans in their previous attacks on the city. Jerusalem fell to Saladin in 1187 and he died 1193 shortly after the Europeans, under the leadership of Richard the Lionhearted, departed the Middle East.
There's a really terrific movie called "Kingdom of Heaven" starring Orlando Bloom which covers Saladin's actions during the Third Crusade. Like all movies, it has some historical problems, but it is very well done and worth a good watch.
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