The Knights Templar are trending after Norwegian shooting suspect Anders Behring Breivik referenced the group in his manifesto, “2083: A European Declaration of Independence.”
Breivik, who is charged with killing more than 90 people in a shooting spree and bombing attack, cites the group as an “international Christian military order” that fights against “Islamic suppression.” But who were the Knights Templar?
Back in the 12th century, their responsibility was to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land during the Crusades. The Knights subsequently joined the fight to reclaim Jerusalem from the Arabs, but were forced out and returned to Europe where they were persecuted by King Philip of France with the backing of Pope Clement V.
They were disbanded by the year 1312, but Breivik claims the Christian military order has been re-founded under the name PCCTS as an armed “anti-Jihad movement.”