Time for another movie that's afraid to insult Muslims

Their modern agent is a man Brown clearly designates as an Arab and a Muslim. A witness to one of his crimes says he’s an Arab. He speaks Arabic. It is his precision-timed killing spree of four high-ranking cardinals (each of whom is to be dispatched at a designated spot among symbolic Illuminati sites in Rome) that Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is trying to foil. In the midst of his rampage, which he expects to end with the destruction of the entire Vatican, he pauses to raise his eyes to the dome of St. Peter’s. Writes Brown, “‘Your final hour,’ he said aloud, picturing the thousands of Muslims slaughtered during the Crusades. ‘At midnight you will meet your God.’”

It matters that the Hassassin is an Arab. With the world watching his every step as he operates in public places in the middle of a media frenzy in Rome, he is at enormous risk. But he is driven by a psychotic frenzy and ancient hatreds. In the movie, Howard doesn’t bother telling us anything about the killer’s motivation, his background, or his identity. He’s coolly played by Danish actor Nikolaj Lee Kaas, who speaks fluent Italian and English. With his rimless glasses he looks as threatening as the assistant manager of an Italian coffee bar.