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Because much of this is missed by the media, ironies abound. For example, many point to Breivik’s fascination with the Knights Templar, a Crusading order, as proof that he was motivated by the Crusades. Yet, as one AP report titled “Norway suspect wanted European anti-Muslim crusade” correctly asserts, “The Knights Templar was a medieval order created to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land after the First Crusade in the 11th century.”
How exactly a military order devoted to protecting Christians inspired someone to kill innocent children in Norway is left unanswered. As one historian put it, the original Knights Templar, a “very devout people,” would be “horrified” to be associated with Breivik.
Even more ironic, the Knights and Crusaders in general were frequently on the receiving end of the Assassins’ terror; that is, far from being inspirations for terrorism, they bore the brunt of one of the earliest manifestations of Islamic terrorism.
In short, Breivik’s actions are more inspired by the Jihad than the Crusades, by the Assassins than the Templars, by al-Qaeda—”which he cherishes great admiration for“—than the IRA. Even CNN’s Fareed Zakaria correctly states that in Breivik’s view, “the Knights Templar resembles nothing so much as al Qaeda.”
The parallels are evident: Medieval Europe, in an effort to retaliate to an expansionist Islam, articulated a means that was influenced by the jihad—”holy war,” the Crusades; today, modern Europeans like Breivik, in an effort to retaliate to an expansionist Islam, have articulated a means influenced by al-Qaeda—jihadi-style terrorism.
Some may argue that there are non-Muslim terror groups for Breivik to draw inspiration from. Even so, in a globalized world where Islam has by far the lion’s share of terrorism—where nonstop images of jihadi terror have metastasized in the media, and thus the mind—it is clear where Breivik got his inspiration.
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