Was the Norway Shooter Part of an International Anti-Muslim Terrorist Group?

Did Anders Breivik, the Norway massacre suspect, act alone? In court today he claimed that he was aided by an extremist organization with two cells still at large. He previously ranted about founding an militant anti-Islam group called the Knights Templar.

Breivik confessed to both the bombing in Oslo and the shooting massacre on the island of Utoya, which together are believed to have killed 76 people. But he pleaded not guilty today, because he "believes that he needed to carry out these acts to save Norway."

Also, today, Breivik hinted that he was acting on behalf of an organization which is still at large: "there are two more cells in our organisation" which would continue his work, Breivik told the court.

It seems the organization he's referring to is a weird, medieval-themed racism club called the Knights Templar, which he claims to have founded in London. In his 1,5000 page manifesto, he describes a 2002 London meeting where he and some buddies re-founded the Knights Templar, a 900-year-old group of crusaders now best-known as fodder for The Da Vinci Code:

Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici – PCCTS (the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon), the Knights Templar was re-founded in London in 2002 by representatives from eight European countries, for the purpose of serving the interests of the free indigenous peoples of Europe and to fight against the ongoing European Jihad (referred to as the "third Jihad"). The Knights Templar was re-founded as a pan-European nationalist military order and a military/criminal tribunal with two primary objectives. The order is to serve as an armed Indigenous Rights Organisation and as a Crusader Movement (anti-Jihad movement).

The Manifesto included a list of founding members: 12 anonymous individuals from a host of European countries. Judging from his admiration of al Qaeda—he lauded its "superior structural adaptation" in his manifesto—the Knights Templar may have been modeled explicitly after its enemy.

So, is there some international network of Christian extremists that fancies themselves modern-day crusaders? This could all be some fever-dream cooked up by Breivik—his claims to be associated with the far-right English Defense League appear to be exaggerated, for instance. But the spectre of Muslim and anti-Muslim terrorist groups duking it out with dueling attacks is, well, terrifying.

[Image via Getty]