By SIMON HAYDON – Associated Press | AP – 15 mins ago
But in an interview with The Associated Press, the Briton denied Anders Behring Breivik belonged to his Knights Templar group and said he’d never heard of the Norwegian before the attacks.
Breivik said in his 1,500-page manifesto that he was mentored by a British man known as “Richard (the Lionhearted)” — and the leader of the far-right English Defense League has told AP that “Richard” is Paul Ray, author of the blog “Lionheart.”
But Ray, who split with the EDL years ago, denied any connection to Breivik.
In a telephone interview from his home in Malta, Ray said he was not at a 2002 meeting in London which Breivik claims gave birth to a group called the Knights Templar of Europe, whose founders included himself and “Richard.”
However, the 35-year-old Ray said he shares Breivik’s views and has several apparent similarities with the “mentor” in the killer’s manifesto, chiefly that he leads an anti-Muslim group called The Ancient Order of the Templar Knights. But Ray denied knowing Breivik and suggested the group had no formal structure. He refused to name any members or indicate how many it has.
“It’s an idea,” Ray said. “It’s not like it’s a massive organization. It’s a belief.”
But he denies he approved of Breivik’s methods, which include killing innocents to draw attention to his philosophy.
“I’d like to express my deepest sympathy to the people of Norway and to the families who have lost children,” Ray said. “It’s a horrendous crime that has been committed by someone what goes beyond the realm of human understanding.”
Breivik, 32, claims he committed Friday’s massacre as the order’s first blow in an apocalyptic war against Muslims, immigrants and leftists to prevent what he believes is an Islamic attempt to take over western Europe.
Ray said he fled England two years ago after being arrested for stirring up racial hatred, and settled in Malta. He plans to return next week to see his family even though he doesn’t know if he will be arrested on outstanding charges.
“I’m willing to speak to anyone in authority and to be open about everything,” he said.
“We have the right and a duty to temporarily seize political and military control of our country until all … traitors have been hunted down and executed and all Muslims have been deported,” he writes.
He also sought to detect links between the Knights Templar and the EDL: “I wonder sometimes if one of the EDL founders was one of the co-founders of PCCTS, I guess I’ll never know for sure. EDL is a nonviolent protest organization though but I noticed they have copied a lot from the PCCTS.”
The leader of the EDL, Stephen Lennon, said Tuesday he doesn’t know Breivik and kicked Ray out shortly after the EDL was formed, on grounds he was bent on taking over the group with his own agenda.
Ray, who says he was born Paul Sonato but took his mother’s maiden name, denied ever having heard of the Norwegian before Friday’s massacres.
“Being implicated in this, I just want the truth to come out and it proven that I’m nothing whatever to do with this,” Ray said.
Ray said the confessed killer appeared to have taken some of his ideas and used them as justification for his killing spree.
“This is getting bad. It’s really pointing at us. All these things he’s been talking about are linked to us,” he said. “It’s like he’s created this whole thing around us.”
Ray often shares views similar to Breivik’s on his anti-Muslim blog, whose title is a reference to King Richard I of England, who led Christian crusades in the 12th century.
“My thoughts are the same as that Anders, that there is a threat to our way of life from Islam. I’m not going to say I don’t think there is because I do,” Ray said. “Me being a Christian, I do look towards the Templars throughout history and how they’ve defended us from the jihad.”
The order, Ray said, was set up in response to “Muslims in our country (England) trying to take over our country. Let’s not pretend it’s not happening. They are actively declaring their vision to take our country over.”
Ray’s blog discussed establishing a Knights Templar order as far back as 2007: “Where are the ‘original’ Knights Templar’s, Gods Army on Earth now, it is time you came out of the shadows and helped your fellow country men, the time of peace and security has passed.”
Paisley Dodds contributed to this report from Luton, England.
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- The Knights Templar Europe: Far-right fact or fiction? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Norway killer: Right-wing British blogger fears he provided inspiration for Anders Behring Breivik (telegraph.co.uk)
- Norway Shooting Suspect Claims More Terror ‘Cells’ (abcnews.go.com)
- Norway shooting: British police investigating Knights Templar right wing radicals (telegraph.co.uk)
- Legendary Knights Templar Cited In Violence In Norway, Mexico (huffingtonpost.com)
- Was the Norway Shooter Part of an International Anti-Muslim Terrorist Group? [Terror] (gawker.com)
- Knights Templar: In Mexico, like Norway, criminals look to past for legitimacy (csmonitor.com)
- Norway killings: Mysterious group called the Knights Templar (telegraph.co.uk)
- Muslim-Hating Killer Expresses Divergent Views About Jews and Israel (wakeupbd.wordpress.com)
- Norway: Understanding “Christian fundamentalist” in Utoya murders (teaandpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Norway killer: who were the Knights Templar? (telegraph.co.uk)
- Is Anders Behring Breivik being a Freemason / Knight Templar of no relevance? (ktwop.wordpress.com)
- Could Paul Ray or Alan Lake be Anders Behring Breivik’s UK mentor? (ktwop.wordpress.com)