People are always surprised at how many similarities there are between the Hebrew and Arabic languages: the word for peace in the first is shalom and in the second salaam. As both Jews and Arabs are originally from the same part of the world and share a common Semitic heritage it really shouldn't be too much of a surprise, but because of the current political strife between the two over a few thousand square miles of what is basically desert land, it's something most of us tend to forget. We also tend to overlook that, historically speaking, relations between Muslims and Jews were often far better than those either ever had with Christians.
Up until the 20th century Jewish people living under Arab rule fared much better than they did under Christian rule. In the Middle Ages, when Jews were being persecuted all across Europe as scapegoats for the plague and other social evils, they were living relatively comfortable lives in Moorish occupied Spain. In the Cordoba region a Jew even served as advisor to the Caliph, something that would never have occurred under a Christian ruler of the time. It's only been since after World War I and the British occupation of what is now Israel that the two people were thrown into direct conflict. Instead of trying to figure out a peaceful means of creating space for the two to live in the same area after their withdrawal - like maybe making a common country with shared rule - the British arbitrarily drew a line splitting the country and Jerusalem in half. Relations between the two people have been pretty rocky ever since.
While most people might be hard pressed to find anything humorous about the division between these two groups, thankfully there are some who don't think there's any cow too sacred to be tipped on its ass and laughed at. The Infidel, being released on DVD October 26 by New Video and Tribeca Films, is bound to offend or piss off everybody who takes themselves far too seriously on both sides of the great Semite divide. The film stars Omid Djalili (who played opposite Heath Ledger in the movie Casanova as his servant) and Richard Schiff (best known for his work in the TV show The West Wing) as a Muslim and a Jew who are thrown together under highly outrageous circumstances. The movie takes great joy in rubbing our faces in the bigotry and idiocy of the extremists in both religious groups, yet also manages to find the common ground between the two so often overlooked and forgotten.