The famed crusading Knights Templar may historically have been the victims of kings and the Vatican, but they're now being held up as inspiration in present-day "crusades" against Muslims, according to Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik. He claims members of a secretive "Knights Templar" organization in London model themselves after the fighters in their violent plots against Muslims. In fact, Breivik says his "mentor" is a member who refers to himself as Richard or Lionheart, an apparent reference to crusader Richard the Lionhearted. “God will revive the ancient order of the Knights Templar and count me worthy to die amongst them in service of my God in protection of the Christian and Jewish world," writes a British blogger who calls himself Lionheart, reports the Telegraph.
He's actually Paul Ray, a founding member of the right-wing English Defense League who was once busted for violence-promoting hate speech, according to the newspaper. He has distanced himself from Breivik, calling the killer a "crackpot." Breivik used the Templar Knights' trademark white tunic and red cross on the cover of his 1,500-word manifesto discussing his terror attack in Norway, notes the Washington Post. Bizarrely, other new "Knights Templar" have arisen in Mexico: That's the name of a new drug cartel which supposedly follows a knights' "code of conduct" involving fighting poverty and upholding knightly values. (Read more Knights Templar stories.)