Since the background of the Robin Hood legend is, in most cases, based on the events surrounding the Third Crusade (1189–1192), the intoduction of the Saracen (as Muslims were called then) character Nasir in the Robin of Sherwood series is very straightforward and plausible:
- he was taken, as a prisoner, back to England
So it would seem that the British screenwriter Richard Carpenter invested some time to do some research, which is one reason why British series tend to be of a higher quality than their US counterparts.
So it is plausible that some Muslims arrived and remained in England during this time
- founding families while doing so
The motivation to bring back the Muslim prisoner may have been to serve the feudal Lord as a warrior and therefore could very well have had a high standing.
Since England was a feudal society at the time, a prisoner of feudal Lord would probably not be in danger of arrest for just looking weird?
- there were no police at the time
A feudal Lord enforced the Kings (or his own) will
- through those serving him
So it is unlikely that a commoner would ask a servant of a feudal Lord to arrest a prisoner (likely a warrior himself) of that feudal Lord.
Robin Hood is a legendary heroic outlaw originally depicted in English folklore and subsequently featured in literature and film. According to legend, he was a highly skilled archer and swordsman. In some versions of the legend, he is depicted as being of noble birth, and in modern retellings he is sometimes depicted as having fought in the [Third] Crusades before returning to England to find his lands taken by the Sheriff.
Through retellings, additions, and variations, a body of familiar characters associated with Robin Hood has been created. These include his lover, Maid Marian, his band of outlaws, the Merry Men, and his chief opponent, the Sheriff of Nottingham. The Sheriff is often depicted as assisting Prince John in usurping the rightful but absent King Richard, to whom Robin Hood remains loyal.
Robin of Sherwood, Series
- was produced by HTV in association with Goldcrest, and ran from 1984 to 1986 on the ITV network
Cast and characters - The Merry Men
Nasir (Mark Ryan)
A Saracen assassin, he was captured in Palestine by the Baron de Belleme and brought back to England to work as his henchman. After the Baron is killed by Robin, Nasir – having found respect for Robin during a crucial sword fight – decides to join the Merry Men. Throughout the series, he speaks very little.
Saracen is a despective term widely used among Christian writers in Europe during the Middle Ages to refer to Arabs and Muslims. The term's meaning evolved during its history. In the early centuries of the Common Era, Greek and Latin writings used this term to refer to the people who lived in desert areas in and near the Roman province of Arabia Petraea, and in Arabia Deserta. In Europe during the Early Middle Ages, the term came to be associated with tribes of Arabia. The oldest source mentioning the term Saracen dates back to the 7th century. It was found in Doctrina Jacobi, a commentary that discussed the event of the Arab conquests on Palestine.
By the 12th century, Saracen had become synonymous with Muslim in Medieval Latin literature. Such expansion in the meaning of the term had begun centuries earlier among the Byzantine Greeks, as evidenced in documents from the 8th century. In the Western languages before the 16th century, Saracen was commonly used to refer to Muslim Arabs, and the words Muslim and Islam were generally not used (with a few isolated exceptions). The term became gradually obsolete following the Age of Discovery.