July 31st, 2011
02:00 PM ET

What is the Knights Templar?

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

The group has come to everyone's attention because of Anders Behring Breivik's killing spree in Norway, now just over a week ago. He claimed in his rambling manifesto to represent a modern-day "Knights Templar".

But who are they?

The name might ring a bell, especially if you've seen The DaVinci Code or National Treasure or one of any number of recent films. But these are, of course, all fictional. What are the facts?

The Knights Templar were a Christian military order founded in the early 12th century. Its members were said to be elite warriors who wore distinctive white mantles with a red cross. They made their reputation by winning a series of battles in the Crusades.

Ironically, the Knights' first headquarters were in a mosque - the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem - because they believed it was built on top of the ruins of Solomon's Temple. Their name, templar, comes from that legendary temple.

The Knights' main job was said to be protecting Christian pilgrims from Muslims (amongst others). To this day, the site of the mosque and the temple mount remains one of the most heavily disputed place on earth.

The order of the Knights Templar was dissolved in 1312, but its legacy lives on. Rumors still swirl that the group exists in total secrecy and guards the Holy Grail.

From what sounds like fiction, back to fact: We know that Brevik saw himself as a Knight Templar.

But get this: Halfway across the world from Norway, a new drug gang has recently arisen in Mexico. They call themselves quite simply "The Knights Templar".

And they claim to live by a religious code, a copy of which the Associated Press recently obtained. It says the drug-dealing knights will "defend the values of society...against materialism, injustice and tyranny" and that its members will be "honorable", "noble", "courteous" and "honest".

So they are "honest" drug dealers, selling marijuana, cocaine and whatever else in the name of God?

Anders Breivik's fascination with the Knights is less bizarre - in fact, he's part of a larger movement. People like Breivik are trying to resurrect the idea of a modern-day Crusade, a real clash of civilizations against what they see as an Islamic invasion of Europe.

In fact, Muslims make up only about 3 % of Europe's population and are likely to rise to between 5% and 8% by 2025 and level out at that point. But that doesn't change the reality of the anger, hatred and violence.

Ironically, in Breivik's nostalgic view of the medieval world, the Knights Templar resembles nothing so much as al Qaeda, a terrorist organization that is fundamentally opposed to the modern world.

We still don't know if Breivik's boast that there are more lone knights like him waiting to act is true. But if his depiction of the knight as a self-sacrificing assassin on a larger holy mission sounds familiar, it's because it too is mirrored in Islamist terror. That's exactly what a suicide bomber is: A lone fighter, often acting in the so-called interests of a larger movement and willing to kill innocents to draw attention to the cause.

While we have all focused on the dangers of radical Islam and of Muslim terror, the attack in Norway should remind us that there is actually a pretty large problem of other sources of terrorism in the West.

The European Union's 2010 Terrorism Situation and Trend Report has some fascinating findings. It showed that of the 294 terror attacks committed in Europe in 2009, only one was conducted by Islamists. That's a third of one percent.

The most recent statistics show there were 249 terror attacks in Europe in 2010. Only three of those attacks were carried out by Islamist terrorists. Again, that's about one percent. Most of the attacks were by separatist groups or anarchists.

So perhaps that's the lesson we can learn from the events in Norway. Islamic radicalism is a real problem and Islamic terrorism a real threat. But if we ignore other kinds of threats we're likely to be blindsided by another Gabby Giffords shooting or another Virginia Tech massacre.

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soundoff (322 Responses)
  1. Cyndy Colbath

    Well explained and a good warning to all of us.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Reply
    • The P

      Templars still exist. Sounds like modern Jesuits

      July 31, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Reply
      • Tom

        You mean the modern Jesuits at places like Georgetown University?

        July 31, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
      • Appeal to Reason

        (Knight) Templar

        1. a member of a military religious order ( Knights of the Temple of Solomon ) founded by Crusaders in Jerusalem around 1118 to defend the Holy Sepulchre and Christian pilgrims; suppressed in 1312

        2. ( Brit ) ( sometimes not capital ) a lawyer, esp a barrister, who lives or has chambers in the Inner or Middle Temple in London

        [C13: from Medieval Latin templārius of the temple, from Latin templum temple 1 ; first applied to the knightly order because their house was near the site of the Temple of Solomon]

        Another interesting article is also at:

        http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/did-medieval-knights-templar-influence-norway-gunman-161312473.html

        July 31, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
      • Bonita

        It's not at all limited. The sin nature of men and boys is the problem. They love the membership of secret societies – it's quite universal. More legendary, the better. And they LOVE fighting and destroying and having dominance. It's in their blood. Men must be properly educated by the Bible regarding sin and hell and that every hidden thing will be exposed and everyone will be judged by God at the end.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
      • Bonita

        Massacres and atrocities are crimes done by anyone or carrying any name. Muslims, though numerous in population, by their doctrines don't tolerate the existence of infidels and apostates. That fact sets them and atheistic communists apart from others. Muslims must change from the very foundation in the Muslim-majority land. People reveal what they are when they are majority or in power. Being a minority is only a temporary status, not the true selves. Unless all the Muslim-majority land gets complete religious freedom and human rights, no argument works as execuses for them. Walk the talk.

        Every crazy man has something he looks forward in the things he thinks he knows while he himself is a pure evil incarnated and a justification of the evil he does.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
      • The P

        Jesuits uphold a militant duty, just as the templars did.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
      • Guy

        The Jesuits maintain a "militant duty" out of more tradition. St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits was a soldier before his conversion. You'll often hear the term "soldiers for Christ" associated with the Jesuits, but this saying has been skewed. "Soldiers for Christ" is sometimes used by modern Crusader groups, but the Jesuits were never violent. They use the term "soldiers for Christ" to explain their loyalty and duty to build God's Kingdom through love.

        The Norwegian terrorist has claimed himself to a right-winged extremist. The Jesuits are almost notoriously (among a mostly conservative faith) known their liberalism.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
      • Shalin

        Well said Bonita... The west is really not aware of Muslim doctrines and how their religion encompasses a socio-economic-political agenda. They exist as a semi-passive minority, but become quite dominating upon achieving majority status. Their goal is to convert ALL since Muhammed was the last prophet of God, so man...by nature should follow the Q'uran which is the last revealed word of God. The Sharia is a religious doctrine which gives non-Muslims status as secondary citizens and calls for their eventual conversion. They are taxed heavily by jiziya and economically get bribed into Islam...(at least the poor people). Higher classes are often bred out when Muslim men marry non-Muslim women, because they can! Mind you, Muslim women HAVE to marry Muslim men according to the Q'uran. If you are listening in the WEST, keep Islam out of your countries. You must understand their agenda!!!

        July 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
      • j. von hettlingen

        Breivik's idea of a knight came from the German composer Richard Wagner, who was admired by Adolf Hitler! Many of Wagner's works, especially "Parsifal" or "Perceval" – a opera about the quest of the holy grail, focus on medieavl chivalry and honour.

        July 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Cristoffer

      Why did they have to go talking about a new mexican drug gang? That was pointless and represented us marijuana users as bad people. I AM IN NO WAY PART OF ANY GANG. But i smoke pot. But according to the federal law, im a threat to my family, friends, neighbors, and myself in general. PLEASE HELP LEGALIZE MEDICAL MARIJUANA! LEAVE US NON-VIOLENT CITIZENS AND OUR MARIJUANA ALONE!

      July 31, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
      • gc

        Because they call themselves the Knights Templar, he didn't say your bad, the dealers are.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
      • Sekemet

        Yes that was a rather strange correlation. Tthe Knights of Templar is a racist organization heavily tied with the government instead of saying kkk they say they are Knights of Templar or White Knights. Little do people no that mexican drug cartel fighting is somewhat based on skin color although I do not know much about their knights of templar organization except for what has recently been brought to light. Just probably a wrench in the fire by CNN for their next big story. Some people will find a way to degrade a healing herb or cannabis culture until the day they day they die because healing of the people is not what they want.

        One of the biggest Knights of Templar organizations is the Red Cross claiming to help so many people but waiting for so many people to die so they can suck their blood. The history of this blood sucking sickness goes I don't know how far back and is based on a lot of wickedness that I don't care to dig up.

        Keep smoking your peace pipe and peace will prevail. she free.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
      • Henry

        I think your pot may be laced with something else...paranoid much?

        July 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
      • meemee

        Pot users aren't necessarily bad people, just DUMB people. Medical marijuana my foot. What, for treatment of short hair, achievement, and too much concern for life?

        July 31, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
      • Ferenc Szabo

        You're smoking too much pot if you think that Fareed somehow linked violent drug cartels with peaceful people who smoke marijuana for pleasure and medicinal reasons.

        July 31, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
      • N

        Sekemet, if you're not receiving psychiatric care, you should be. The Knights Templar never have been a racist organisation and never will be. From about 1127, the KT had a number of non French members, many of whom were converts from Islam.

        No gang is affiliated with the Knights Templar. Drugs are spiritually repressive mostly. Virtually all gangs claim to be honourable but they aren't. They are normally greedy, cruel, hateful, selfish people out for financial gain. They will feed off as many people as they can get hooked.

        The Templar belief is that all faiths are inter-related, there is only darkness and light...and that has nothing to do with skin colour.

        August 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Dave

      What warning? Don't buy mexican drugs from strange Norweigens?

      July 31, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
      • 1Knight

        The warning is that wack-jobs are unpredictable and could be living right next door. Nothing new really.

        July 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
      • smartone76

        hahahahahaha!!! 😀

        August 18, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • Dorkus

      Wait a minute... 294 terrorist attacks and only 1 was carried out by muslims? That is absolute Bu****it, someone playing fast and loose with the figures in order to advance the media PC agenda. Or maybe the bully stealing your lunch money is now considered a "terrorist act" in europe. Thats the only way any rational person could come up with these figures...

      July 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
      • Peace2All

        @Dorkus

        Well, you might want to check out the studies he quoted, before dismissing it out of hand.

        Not saying you're wrong. Just might want to check it out. If you do... get back to us, i would love to see what you have come up with.

        Regards,

        Peace...

        July 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
      • C'mon, Really?

        Don't be such a dork, Dorkus.

        Just because you're surprised by the numbers, it doesn't mean that the source is not legitimate. The numbers are official and come from the European Union itself. I don't see "fast and loose" anywhere here.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
      • Yalda

        Graffiti outside mosque, a child throwing an egg outside a muslim house, a drunk screaming at muslim shop keeper, a crazy man shouting at women etc. This, while I was in europe was recorded as act of terrorism so the numbers are correct but, you should see what these people did to make it to the list and that is a totally different story.

        July 31, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
      • Jared

        I'm sure the numbers are accurate they just sound more significant then they are. Everytime they find explosives or a cache of weapons somewhere someone gets a terrorism related charge. That goes for terrorists and idiots building pipe bombs in their basement. Europe still has groups like the IRA around. The only terrorist attacks in Europe last year big enough to make the news would of been the one involving the Islamic terrorists and the ones involving the IRA in some way.

        July 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Steve

      What an ignorant article this so called "reporter" has written! He quotes a code from the "Knights templar of Michoacan", which is a drug cartel! It's no wonder there are so many people drinking the "kool-aid" if you only believe what one fool has to say! This guy did about as much research on this article as an 8 year old! If you don't believe me, look it up yourselves. Reference ""The Code of the Knights Templar of Michoacán," The real Knights Templar were NOT drug dealers...but I'm thinking Fareed is, a "Kool-Aid" vendor!

      July 31, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply
      • C'mon, Really?

        @Steve

        I don't see the author referring anywhere to the original Knights Templar as drug dealers.

        I think his point was that *anyone* could refer to themselves as a Knights Templar, including drug dealers and notorious mass murderers like the one in Norway.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Flyin4awa

      Check the facts...His explanation is totally ficticious and slanted! He did about as much research as an 8 year old on this article, and is obviously as ignorant as his article depicts him to be! His editor should be ashamed of letting him publish this article!

      July 31, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Might there be a reason why there have been so little attacks by Muslim extremists? Could a small, but significant reason be the attention we have put into that problem?

      July 31, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Reply
      • I_Thunk_It

        Good point... Attention though should not be limited to islamists, that's what the author is saying.

        July 31, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Knight of glassBONG

      Im glad CNN chose a muslim man tell report on this...

      July 31, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Reply
    • joe S.

      Please tell Don Lemon to allow his "guests" to finish their answers, and not cut them off. That is rude. Thanks!

      July 31, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Reply
    • Ric dawg wood

      Your painting the knights out as terrorists if they do exist would be a lie to beef up your already sad story about a apparent lunatic. Because a mentally deranged, homicidal, maniac decides to use the name of the knights doesnt mean he is or ever was a true knight, nor that the knights would ever approve of the spilling of innocent blood. They would be a defender of righteousness. Quite the opposite of this twisted mans idea of reality.

      of righteousness

      August 23, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  2. Bob

    The Knights Templar did have some astonishing tales of dedication, faith, and honor.

    But make no mistake, they were the militant arm of fundamentalist Christianity in the Middle Ages. These were people, motivated primarily by greed for land in the Middle East, who set out to "save" the Holy Land from "the infidel".

    They committed mass murder in the name of God.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Reply
    • Marge

      That is true. The amassed a fortune which infurated the Church and they claimed they were criminals, broke them up and took the money and jewels that they had stolen from others. They started out well but all that wealth corrupted them.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Reply
      • up1652

        They were destroyed by the King of France who turned on them with an edict declaring them evil and unChristain.

        July 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
      • Peter

        The Knights Templar amassed a fortune that didn't make the church angry, it made the French government angry, who owed them a lot of money. After trying to get the popes to intimidate and excommunicate the members of the order, the French monarchy decided to arrest and torture them to get them to admit to heresy, sodomy, and other things. It was only then that the papacy ordered the arrest of the order across Europe.

        That aside, this article didn't say anything about the Knights Templar that you couldn't read in the Da Vinci Code, which is kind of disappointing.

        July 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
      • Shaun

        Is there a Middle-Eastern religion which hasn't committed mass murder in the name of God?

        July 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
      • Chris

        True they were the militant arm of the Christian Church at the time , but their real talent was to create a banking system that for the most part today's system is still modeled on. They were the first group to organize Trusts for the wealthy that went from Western Europe to fight in the crusades. Essentially, the Templars bankrolled the later crusades an the French King's expansion at home. Philip was deeply indebted to them and up until the time of their dissolution the Templars were well thought of because aside from their warrior monk status, the organization was also the most charitable end of the Catholic Church. Philip decided not to pay them and the only way to effectively default on the Templars was to basically turn them into pagans in the eyes of the public and some of the nobility. The Pope knowing that Philip had more power than he did acquiesed and on Friday the Thirteenth in October of I believe 1312, all the Templars were rounded up . There were rumors at the time that the Templars also had cut a peace deal with the Muslims which cut Philip out and kept him from effectively recruiting for a crusade.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • meemee

        Yes, Judaism, Zoroastianism, Druze, and a few others I can't think of right now.

        July 31, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • James

      They did? being a history major I can tell you they fought battles in the name of God. They didn't simply go out and kill people randomly.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Reply
      • John

        They did not fight, but they did become Europe's bankers.

        It's why they were murdered, and why the French eventually lopped off Louie's head in retaliation.

        Among other things.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
      • kirk

        Actually James, Study the history of thier marches and embarcation/disembarcations by sea and land(This is often overlooked research). They absolutely slaughtered people starting at the Austro-Hungarian border, through Romania along their routes of march-HUGE ammounts of people(more casualties in Europe during the march then in all of the middle east...). And it was everyone-not just one religion or another. When they disembarked in Turkey/Lebanon-they killed everyone in a robe and headdress-which at those places were not influenced as yet by Islam. S side bar that you might enjoy reading is the "lesser campaigns" into North Eastern Europe(Poland, and the Baltics toFinland) that occured at the same period.

        August 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • 1Knight

      And they were all hunted down and murdered by King's order on October 13, 1307, a day so infamous that Friday the 13th became known throughout the western world as an unlucky day. Sucks to be a crusader without a crusade; they had ammased too much power to be left with idle hands.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
      • Michael

        Wikipedia – At dawn on Friday, October 13, 1307, scores of French Templars were simultaneously arrested by agents of King Philip, later to be tortured in locations such as the tower at Chinon, into admitting heresy in the Order. Over 100 charges were issued against them, the majority of them identical charges that had been earlier issued against the inconvenient Pope Boniface VIII: accusations of denying Christ, spitting and urinating on the cross, and devil worship. The main interrogation of the Templars was under the control of the Inquisitors, a group of experienced interrogators and clergy who circulated around Europe at the beck and call of any European noble. The rules of interrogation said that no blood could be drawn, but this did nothing to stop the torture. One account told of a Templar who had fire applied to the soles of his feet, such that the bones fell out of the skin. Other Templars were suspended upside-down or placed in thumbscrews. Of the 138 Templars (many of them old men) questioned in Paris over the next few years, 105 of them "confessed" to denying Christ during the secret Templar initiations. 103 confessed to an "obscene kiss" being part of the ceremonies, and 123 said they spat on the cross. Throughout the trial there was never any physical evidence of wrongdoing, and no independent witnesses; the only "proof" was obtained through confessions induced by torture.[7] The Templars reached out to the Pope for assistance, and Pope Clement did write letters to King Philip questioning the arrests, but took no further action.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Hinchman

      Bob –

      Got a source to cite for that?

      July 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Reply
    • jim k

      perhaps bob u should read your history...the holy land was an area that was shared by christians and and jews....it was invaded by the moors...."muslims"...who proceded to murder all jews and christians....as well as destroy and desecrate sites considered holy by judeo christians as well.......the crusades was to stop this murder and "take back" the holy land from these invaders.....

      July 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Reply
      • John

        The Muslims did nothing of the sort.

        Jews, Christians and Muslims lived peacefully in Palestine until the Crusades were ushered in by one more evil pope hellbent on pretending he was a living representative of Jesus...... who'd not have laid a hand on anyone.

        Do some homework.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
      • montyhp

        John,

        Actually, the first crusade was started because the muslims were attacking the byzantine christians. The european christians came to their aid. There were some heinous acts by christians (mostly individual nobles leading their own bands) as well as muslims.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
      • meemee

        Both of you are bit right and wrong. Just read the real histories and be honest. The Arabs, NOT Moors, came into Palestine (named by the Romans after destroying Judea), which was populated by Christians, Jews, and many other types such as Druze and even Zoroastrians, and killed many, but also left many. The Islam was invented by a merchant who sought to create a mercantile empire with a supporting religion. Dead people don't pay taxes or render tribute, and dead people don't make good slaves. The chief object of trade was slaves. Arabs were and have always been the largest slave trading ethnic group in the world. So when Muslims invaded, they killed to make an impression on those they left alive, wherein, the Crusaders, initially killed far more when they took Jerusalem, and later Constantinople, as it was the custom to not leave any to intrigue and overthrow. Remember while all this was going on, Genghis Khan will slaughtering millions in Asia and Eastern Europe, far out doing both the Crusaders and the Muslims in religious genocide.

        July 31, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • John

      You're mistaken. They did not.

      Anymore than the Vatican was holier than the Cathars, walking, living saints it butchered simply because they were.

      July 31, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • Terry

      That is NOT true what you say about mass murder. Knights Templar were NOT mass murders. Thw MUSLIMS were. They killed anyone who would not convert to Islam. WATCH YOUR MOUTH!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:24 am | Reply
      • rashid

        brother terry...plz watch the kingdom of heaven atleast!!

        April 23, 2013 at 1:41 am |
  3. Dean

    Fareed: I think that you are trying to appease terrorists and Islamists by totally distorting the statistics about terrorism. You are trying to create an equivalency between Islamic terrorism and the few examples outside of Islam. You ignore the role of the Koran and the hadiths in inspiring terrorism around the world. By looking at Europe only you are attempting to water down the number of Islamic terrorism incidents which worldwide are predominantly (over 94%) Islamic terrorism incidents and the top 24 terror groups are Islamic. That is not to mention the slaughter, forced conversions, sharia-related death sentences, Muslim-on-Muslim killings taking place each and every day (look at Africa, Mr Z!!). The fact that you are unwilling to call terrorism a problem for both Muslims and everyone else makes you a dhimmi accomplice who reports propaganda rather than truth in his reports.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • RMNH2012

      I think you hit the nail on the head! No true Christian can kill another human being outside of self defense, defense of others, or defense of country. This wacko in Norway may think he was defending his country but he murdered a bunch of innocent people who were unarmed and did NOTHING to him...he can disagree politically but what he did was murder...no less.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Reply
      • heliocracy

        You can make the same argument about Muslims. No true Muslim would kill innocent people...see how that works?

        July 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
      • Tom

        No true Christian can kill another human being outside of self defense, defense of others, or defense of country.

        Outside of self-defense, defense of others, or defense of country. That leaves a lot of wiggle room, doesn't it?

        Heliocracy is right. Just as the Bible says not to kill, the Quran says that if you kill an innocent, it is as if you have killed all of mankind.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
      • montyhp

        Tom,

        The big difference is who is called and "innocent". You can't be an innocent unless you convert or subjugate to islam. If you don't take one of those two options, the only alternative is death.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Didn't make it to the last paragraph, eh Dean?

      "So perhaps that's the lesson we can learn from the events in Norway. Islamic radicalism is a real problem and Islamic terrorism a real threat. But if we ignore other kinds of threats we're likely to be blindsided by another Gabby Giffords shooting or another Virginia Tech massacre."

      July 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
      • meemee

        Crazy people going off on shooting sprees is different than the proclaimed political reasons that Breivik cited for his unfortunate action. There will always be a crazy person who wants attention and gets it via violence. But Breivik was different and one of the distortions, aside from false stats of Zakaria's article is the attempt to ignore the difference.

        July 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • me

      Dean.... "examples outside of islam" ????? call them what they are......
      Christian fundamentalist zealots!!! There has always been 'friction' among religions (I am right... no I am...etc.) Jews/christians... protestants/catholics.... muslims/everybody... etc. All religions have 'shared' in the carnage that is religion..... some god, huh?

      July 31, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Reply
  4. arthurrrr

    –as i am reading this,it appeared to me that this seemed to be written by a Moslem-so a scrolled up to see the name- sure enough IT WAS!!!!!!!!

    July 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • Scott

      .. was gonna say the exact same thing. CNN doesn't even bother to cover-up it's bias anymore. I sure miss the good old CNN... back in the day when they actually did fair, open reporting. The only reason I even read this site is because of the somewhat rare/odd stories they cover. Otherwise, it would never be found in my browser history.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Reply
      • Steve - Dallas

        So, you guys need a Christian to give a fair and unbiased look at history? Right.

        July 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
      • me

        Yeah.... its MUCH better to bury your head in FAUX NEWS or talk radio..... they tell you what you WANT to hear!

        July 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Plunderbund

      Uh... He's not religious at all. He's just smart.

      As if his religion somehow changes the facts he's relaying.

      July 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      Just because his name is Fareed doesn't mean he's Muslim. His family is Sikh. Your cultural illiteracy betrays you; learn something or speak with insight before you make yourself look like a fool again.

      July 31, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Reply
      • meemee

        Last I read was that he was from Egypt and was Muslim. So he is all of these things now, eh?

        July 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  5. John

    Zakaria and his editors are to be commended for publishing an unbiased apolitical description on the Knights Templar!

    July 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      You've got to be kidding. He doesn't even scratch the historical fact much less the modern equivalent.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Reply
      • ks

        Totally agree! Instead of digging deeper they seem to have cut and pasted. Has he even looked into the modern Knights Templars? I don't think so. The Knights Templars I know are horrified by this. So sad that folks don't do their own research and take news organizations word at face value.

        July 31, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
      • John

        Precisely.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
      • mhr

        Mr. Zakaria's piece is a news article, not a dissertation. It is unreasonable to criticise it for not going into every minute detail.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
      • meemee

        mhr – This article is NOT a news piece, but an editorial opinion. Editorial opinions are mean to influence thinking and action.

        July 31, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  6. up1652

    The mosque in Jerusalem is not thought to be on the site of the ancient temple of Solomon, it IS built on the last remaining segment of Herrods temple following the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans in the first century AD.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • Jon

      ... Which was built on the site of the first temple, yes?

      July 31, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Reply
      • up1652

        Perhaps. No one really knows.

        July 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Michael

      Exactly right. The only reason that some people, mostly Muslims, make statements such as "believed it was built on top of the ruins of Solomon's Temple" is because the Muslims have refuse to allow archeologists to examine the Al Aqsa Mosque grounds. Everybody, even the honest Muslims, know that it was the site of the 2nd Temple and 1st Temple ( Solomon's Temple ).
      The Muslims have a long history of destroying Churches, Synagogues and Temples, then erecting Mosques at the same site, or in some cases, like the famed Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, they merely expelled the Christians, converted it to a Mosque, then added the Minarets.
      Islam was spread by the sword at the direction of its founder, Muhammad just as the Spanish and to a much lesser degree, the French, spread Christianity, at times. That is just how things were done back then, to the victor belonged the spoils.
      The really absurd thing is the sanitized historical revisionism to make what happened 500 – 1000 years ago seem less uncivilized by making statements such as “believe to have…..” or “allegedly”.
      Fareed Zakaria is an Indian Muslim, who like anyone else could quite understandably have difficulty admitting how his early coreligionists handled themselves in the 6th – 12th centuries.
      Just admit it. The Al Aqsa mosque is built on Solomon’s Temple.

      July 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply
      • Dave

        Fareed Zakaria is a Sikh, dimwit.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
      • Mike

        Actually, the Al Aqsa mosque is down the hill from where the Temples were. It is the site where Muslims believe Mohammed was transported to by God and worshiped with all the past prophets. The Dome of the Rock is a shrine built on the Temple site. Before it there was a Roman Temple to Jupiter on the site which was destroyed by the Persians when they captured the city in 614AD. And it has been a Church at times as well. All groups either erect or take over houses of worship when they conquer others. Read some history on the Hagia Sophia and how many times it was either destroyed or nearly destroyed by rival Christian sects, the only reason it still exists is because of Muslims who recognized it's significance.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
      • meemee

        The original nine KTs excavated under the Mosque, but some deny that. But an Englishman did do archeological research in the late 19th century under the Mosque. He found tools common to Europeans in the time of the Crusades, but nothing else. But this confirms what is otherwise known by tradition, the Mosque is built on the ruins of Herod's Temple. The other confirming historical evidence is that Josephus and Roman historians mark the spot as the ruined Temple. The ruins were available to Jews and Early Christians until the Mosque was built, so there is plenty of witness to its location and existence. The Wailing Wall of the Jews in Jerusalem is part of the Temple as well. Muslims today fear what modern archeology would add to the legitimacy of the Jewish temple politically, so they refuse to allow any investigation today. Zakaria is supporting that effort by representing the site as "legenday" rather than factual, as it actually already is.

        July 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
      • Dal

        Umm fareed rafiq zakaria is NOT a Sikh name, thank you. Please stop being very ignorant.
        Secondly, a loving God would not cause death in His name therefore there cannot be a God. Please stop living the hoax and unite as people, as humans.
        We need to grow up and stop being so primitive.

        July 31, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
      • Kristina Dudley

        I ;am not so sure that christianity was not spread to the african slaves the same way. Offering food to an extreamly poor country under if they but go to services is the same thing

        August 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  7. jez

    This author is completely downplaying the amount of heinous terrorist acts by Muslims. What Breivik did is unforgivable, but it doesn't change the fact that Islam is a huge source of terrorists.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Reply
    • T Hughes

      You say "Islam is a huge source of terrorists," but the facts - as collected by the European Union - are otherwise. 1 attack out of 294 in 2009: that seems a difficult fact to ignore, if you're trying to stay safe, which is all anyone wants to do.

      July 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  8. jimzcarz

    We should bring back Lobotomies.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • Appeal to Reason

      jimzcarz:

      I would love to medically recommend that you be the first recipient of a lobotomy. You first!

      July 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  9. Dave

    Wow. This author knows basically nothing about the templar knights, historical fact, myth or modern-day groups claiming affiliation. Did he do any research at all I wonder besides hearing that some wacko called himself one? That deluded soul seems to have no connection to any recognized group claiming to be the templar knights based on his actions. Go CNN, you're on par with the watercooler for news.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  10. John

    "The Knights' main job was said to be protecting Christian pilgrims from Muslims (amongst others). To this day, the site of the mosque and the temple mount remains one of the most heavily disputed place on earth."

    July 31, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  11. Greg

    The difference is that anarchists attack banks, whereas Muslims generally want to re-instate Islamic rule over Europe. Little difference there ZACK. Also the Knights Templar would have routed out every mooslim from Europe. Whether this guy is crazy or not is another story – STOP re-writing history or interpreting modern events with a pro-Islamic flavor. The mooslims are quite evil as a group, and a definite threat to our way of life. They scarcely tolerate a Jew or Christian in their midst unless they are a tourist. (Trust me I know.)

    July 31, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
    • me

      Whew....nothing like a little 'christian hatred'....eh Greg.

      July 31, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  12. Howdy Doody

    The Knights Templar were about a code of conduct – learned from a Muslim by the way who introduced the very concept of honor and chivalry to a barbaric serf ridden Europe ruled over by brutal armed men (what we refer to as "nobles" today).

    They and the modern US military have nothing in common and the modes in which the West fights it "wars" today are about as far removed from honorably conduct as can be. The West is without honor or common decency. The Knights would side with Al Qaeda today.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • Jon

      And Al Qaeda *is* honorable and decent? Just to start with, how many Muslims did that organization kill in Iraq? How many innocent people - of all religions - died in the September 11th attacks? The US has made a massive number of mistakes and hardly has its hands clean, sure. But don't you dare assume, little troll, that Al Qaeda has done anything other than spread destruction and death among its own people.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • meemee

      Hoody Doody; Good name for you. It is true that the Templars admired the chivalry of some Muslims like, Saladin, but they had their own brand of chivalry already. At times, the chivalric deeds of both impressed the other and there were periods of honorable treaty and near permanent peace. Read up on the Crusades. Richard the Liionhearted showed this European chivalry best, as his interactions with Saladin, the most chivalric Muslim in the Crusades shows. But y ou also had the Assassins, who were duplicitous deceivers. They got their name form the Hashish they smoked and their adherence to the model for today's Osama bin Laden – The Old Man of the Mountain. His adherents would get the confidence of his target and then stab him with a special dagger. Not particularly chivalrous, is it? St Bernard of Clairveax espoused it and called upon European Chivalry of knights in stirring up the cause of the First Crusade. He reminded knights of their duty to do good, etc. As warriors, European knights carried on the Nordic/Germanic traditions of honor and chivalry that existed long before the time of the Crusades or even Rome.

      July 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  13. Jon

    "The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars." – Foucault's pendulum, by Umberto Eco.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • Jon

      One of my favorite books about secret societies and conspiracy theories.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
      • Ray in Vegas

        I agree. Focault's Pendulum was great! Another good one is The Black Robe.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  14. Analia Tanini

    This article is very biased...

    July 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      I agree.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Reply
    • McYep

      Its Fareed Zakaria, what else can we expect. He is CNN's liberal version of Glenn Beck.

      July 31, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  15. Michigan_Joe

    I totally disagree with the facts in this one sided article. The threat of extreme Islam is greater than you imagine and your facts about Muslim populations in Europe is delusional. Please get your facts correct before you try and sell them here.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • tom

      Islam itself was created to make Christianity irrelevant.Its says Christ is a prophet and Christ did not die on the cross but escaped at the last minute. The ideology of islam should be feared more than the terrorists.

      July 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Reply
      • Cyrus

        Tom:

        Islam doesn't deny Jesus. Actually, Jesus is the most revered prophet in Islam, along with Moses, Abraham, et. al. The only difference is, in Islam, God has no son and Jesus is no god. He was one of the holiest messengers. Islam also doesn't deny that he died on the cross. It actually says that he was ascended to heaven by God. No where in Quran it says that Jesus escaped. You should check your facts.

        July 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
      • meemee

        No, Muslims say that Simon of Cyrene took his place and was crucified in his place. Other Middle Eastern sources have traditionally claimed this as well.

        July 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  16. dempsy

    It is nice to see that someone else sees this guys also as a terrorist. Great article!

    July 31, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  17. up1652

    Whatever the Templars were they were a well over a thousand years ago.Muslim terrorists are now. Breivik is insane as I believe anyone who would such a thing must me. But he is not a Christian no matter what he writes or says. After all calling yourself something will not make you that.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Reply
    • mb2010a

      Like most "Christians"...

      July 31, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Reply
    • ibjonnyc

      Muslims have been in the business of terrorism since at least 7th century when their so-called prophet mohammed accidently ingested some cow dung,dreamed an angel appeared to show him what God intended,and convinced a bunch of camel jockies into believing his"trip".Then they started converting people to their perverted religion,or relieved them of their filthy lives if they didn't convert.They were a scourge upon the earth then and continue to be so today.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Reply
      • Read

        Really? Like when he returned to Mecca from Medina with an army of 10,000, and chose to forgive the very people who had oppressed and tried to kill him numerous times? Read some books, troll.

        July 31, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  18. Analia Tanini

    I believe the author is Muslim himself, and this is why this article is completely biased

    July 31, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Reply
    • tom

      He is a Muslim, Biased or not, I do not know. I think he looks at everything very even mindedly and should be commended for that

      July 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Reply
    • Jam

      Bias is when BBC, Washington Post, NY and several other western media outlets alleged the Breivik's attack again to Muslims without waiting for facts.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:27 am | Reply
  19. MT

    "The European Union's 2010 Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (shows) that of the 294 terror attacks committed in Europe in 2009, only one was conducted by Islamists."

    And that same report states that the reason for the small number of Islamist attacks is because of increased vigilance on behalf of the legal authorities of the E.U. That should not be overlooked.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  20. tom

    Zack IS A Muslim!

    July 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  21. Cristoffer

    Notice how cnn didnt tell you how the TKT disbanded. They were all burned alive or assassinated by ORDER OF THE POPE! That they were " Too powerful to be left alive"<---COVER UP!

    July 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  22. Salvation Army

    The Knights Templars were the miltant wing of the Vatican Catholic Church who finance the crusades.. .The Catholic Church in the 12-16th centure controlled paid for the hospitals, schools and colllected 10% of all income from people...Anyone not a church as an outcast much like the Islamic manefistor. or Sharia Law. Many of the great artist were patronized and paid by the Catholic treasury. The Vatican is separate state. The age of enlightenment and subsequent separattion of church of church in the 1700's ended the power of the catholic church.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  23. Steve

    "The most recent statistics show there were 249 terror attacks in Europe in 2010. Only three of those attacks were carried out by Islamist terrorists."

    Seriously CNN? Don't even try to make muslims to look like they've been beat up on. This is exactly what Anders Breivik said was happening, and also states it in his manifesto.

    Europe is controlled by the multiculturalists. What are they counting as "terrorist attacks"? People setting fires? 1 or 2 people getting killed? Yeah, ok, sounds like terrorist attacks to me.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  24. Mrmailman

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQgc_q_6zZE&w=640&h=390]

    July 31, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  25. Steve

    THIS ARTICLE AND THE AUTHOR IS BIASED.

    July 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • tom

      correct. the statistics presented here are wrong

      July 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
      • John

        Correct.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  26. M Gonzales

    Wow, I read this news piece and some of the "Facts" are off or biased. The Original Knights Templars started off as a very small organization that grew very powerful before their fall. They founded their Headquarters were they did because they were looking for religious artifacts because in those days whoever had religious relics had great prestige. In the end the Knights Templar was a military order as well as powerful bankers and they worked with the Muslims all the time. The Order was NOT broken up by the church but rather the French king who wanted their supposed wealth (France was hurting for money) and he (The french king) forced pope too turn their back on the Knights. The Knights did not just die away but rather broke up and took on different forms. The Knights Templar did fight against Muslims but they were not racist or Terrorist. For this modern day murderer or other criminals too call themselfs Knights Templar is a slap in the face too their honor. If a modern day MUSLIM went and killed people and claimed he was a modern day soldier of Saladin I would laugh in his face as Saladin could be brutal but he had honor. This man has no honor and the Author does not know what he's talking about.

    Thank You, M Gonzales Edgewood NM

    July 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Reply
    • meemee

      Aside from the bombs of Islamic terrorists, Islam in Europe is more like the Hashishim of Hasan bin Sabah, The Old Man of The Mountain, whose followers smoked hashish and murdered their victims close up, by lulling them and getting next to them and then stabbing them with a dagger. This is symbolic of what Islam is doing in Europe. They don't need bombs, they are doing it one by one, and using the mask of harmless religious piety to gain entry.

      July 31, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  27. Salvation Army

    The present day Salvation Army is left-overs of the militant wing of the Knights tempars...activist Christians who are involved in all aspects of society including war, schools, and hospitals and business and charity work..

    July 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  28. Descarado

    No, the Knights Templar hasn't come to everyone's attention because of a Norwegian madman, but why does CNN's resident Islamo-fascist want everyone to think that?

    July 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  29. Doc

    Doesn't CNN have anybody better ?
    Who owns CNN these days ?

    July 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Reply
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