The self-styled leader of the Knights Templar

Paul Ray's blog posts about the threat from Islamic fundamentalism have been highlighted as a possible inspiration for Anders Breivik's killing of more than 70 people in Norway last month.


    Before we start to film our interview, Paul Ray pulls off the plain T-shirt he arrived in, and despite the late afternoon heat of a Maltese afternoon, he pulls on a white hooded sweatshirt.

    He wants the world to see the logo. A white shield with a gold outline and a red cross, above it the initials AOTK – the Association of Templar Knights.

    Ray was a founding member of the anti-Islamic English Defence League, but left in a bitter row which continues today. Now he is the self-styled leader of the Association of Knights Templar – an organisation, size unknown, which he believes is the modern equivalent of the medieval Christian crusades to the Holy Land.

    His frequent and wandering blog posts about the threat from Islamic fundamentalism have been highlighted as a possible inspiration for Anders Breivik's manifesto published online to justify the killing of more than 70 people in Norway last month. 

    Breivik posted pictures of himself dressed in the Knights Templar uniform and described a man similar to Ray as his "mentor" after he claimed to have met him at an event in 2008. He also described reading online postings by 'Richard the Lionhearted'. Ray posts using the name 'Lionheart'.

    But the Englishman who moved to Malta 18 months ago to escape possible charges of stirring up racial hatred denies his writings led to the massacre in Norway. 

    "What he did is pure evil and it's been dressed up in Christianity and Templarism – no way did I inspire him," he says. "If I influenced him there's no way he would have gone out and killed almost 100 innocent children."

    But he adds: "If I had influenced him I could have understood if he had targeted Muslim fundamentalists – I could understand that and I could make a parallel – doesn't justify it but I could understand it. To do what he did has no bearing on anything I ever say at all."

    Ray, who also goes by the name of Paul Sonato, says he once got a Facebook request from Breivik, but rejected it because he "didn't like the look of him". 

    The police in Malta have now received an official request from the authorities in Norway for all the information they have on Ray. He says he's happy to speak with the detectives investigating the massacre. "I have nothing to hide, nothing to fear."  But one area that may bring further inquiries is the 36-year-old’s links to other right wing figures in Europe.

    Under the title 'The Gathering', an on-line video shows Ray wandering around the historic sites of Malta with one-time German neo-Nazi Nick Greger and former Protestant paramilitary leader Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair from Northern Ireland. The video claims all three are members of a group called Order 777, which supports violent struggle against Muslims.

    But despite the video, in which he takes a prominent role, Ray insists he does not hate Muslims. "I have never encouraged any acts of violence – never condoned any acts of violence, never committed any acts of violence," he says.

    "I don't hate anyone. I'm a Christian. I have Muslim friends. My thing is not a hate campaign. My thing is that there are Muslims who want to kill me. There are Muslims who do want to destroy my country. There are Muslims who do want to take over the country and turn it into an Islamic state. For me I've made my decisions and I've stood up and I write about it."

    Asked what links the three men with different backgrounds, different reputations, he says: "A belief in the threat that our civilisation faces a belief, not a political agenda of overthrowing governments but a belief that our civilisation is under threat from Islamic fundamentalism."

    Ray talks of unseen enemies of people who want him out of the way, but denies he is paranoid. He believes he's been pinpointed as the inspiration for the Norwegian killings by his enemies. "My political enemies don’t like what I say," he says. "They want me out of the way for a couple of years. I can justify everything I've said. I'm not to blame. I'm a scapegoat."

    Before Ray leaves to his small apartment near the capital Valetta, I ask if he will ever be linked to something like Norway in the future. "I will never commit an act of violence or encourage others but I will stand up and protect myself and those weaker and more vulnerable than me." 

    When I ask what he means he tells me: "I'm not going to sit here and say how ..." His words tail off and he shrugs his shoulders.

    Ray denies he is one of "two cells" Breivik mentioned on his arrest, ready to take action in the future. But the police are investigating if that was an idle threat, or a warning of more killings to come. And they do want to speak to Paul Ray.



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