We met Paul Ray, "Lionheart of England", a few months ago when we were making the VBS.TV film Royal Wedding. Ray is a religious skinhead who formed the EDL, but who now lives in exile in Malta where he leads an anti-Muslim group called The Ancient Order of the Templar Knights. If you've been following the news recently, the name of Ray's organisation should ring a few bells.
When the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik's 1,500-page 'manifesto' went public yesterday, it was full of the same Holy War rhetoric favoured by Ray. Amongst its hubris was the claim that "God will revive the ancient order of the Knights Templar". Eerily similar, especially when you think about the claims Breivik has made about his close relationship with the EDL. Could Paul Ray have a connection with Anders Breivik? Here's what The Daily Telegraph had to say about it:
We began to get worried that maybe the other terror cells Breivik has claimed to be working alongside had something to do with Paul Ray, so we decided to seek him out. So did The Daily Telegraph, though they didn't seem to get as much out of him as we did. This is probably because the Paul Ray we called was in Malta, while they found their (presumably bewildered) Paul Ray in Bedfordshire.
VICE: Hi Paul. You've already said on your blog that you would "play no part in such inhumane savagery that has no place in the civilised world." So, have you ever had any contact with Anders Breivik?
Paul Ray: No. Not at all. Not that I know of, anyway.
Were there many connections with Norway back when you were running the EDL?
Well, you should look up Alan Lake's "EDL Final Solution" and have a read of that. He was one of the early EDL members and his "Final Solution" seems to be ideologically similar to what Anders has been writing and talking about.
Hmm, "Final Solution" is a very loaded term. Do you think Breivik has stolen anything from Lake's manifesto?
Yeah, but this Anders guy says that he gave his ideological outlook to the EDL. If he did, he never gave it to me. I’m the one who brought the EDL together. Thing is, Alan Lake came in at the beginning as well, and he was dealing with either the Swedish or Norwegian anti-jihad movement. He had his fingers in a few of those movements throughout Europe. If Breivik did have contact with anyone in the EDL at that time, I wouldn’t be surprised it if was him.
It's been reported in the press that Anders was planning to reform the Templar Knights of Europe. Nominally at least, that sounds pretty close to your Ancient Order of the Templar Knights group. Were you aware of that?
I think he was a lone wolf, and he’s just creating this mythology around him to make it look likes he’s part of something much bigger. He claims he arranged a meeting in London in 2002 with people from the Catholic Church and the Greek and Serbian Orthodox Churches. Do you really think people from these different denominations would come together to meet someone like him, and then approve of killing 90 innocent people? It’s pretty far-fetched.
How do you think this will affect peoples' views of your Templar Knights?
It’s bad isn’t it? Look at what he’s been saying, and then look at what I’ve been portraying. Don’t look good, does it? My friends have been reading the manifesto and a lot of the things that we’re involved in and promoting are in there. It apparently says in his manifesto that he has an English mentor called Richard. People are thinking that might be a code word for Richard Lionheart. Who else is there called "Lionheart" who's writing about anti-jihad, Muslims and Templar iconography? It blatantly looks like it’s me! He also talks about diamonds in Liberia and whatever. Meanwhile, Nick [Mad Nick, another Templar Knight, pictured above with Paul Ray] is supporting Charles Taylor… It looks like he’s pointing the finger at us! It’s like he’s copied us. He’s just using the Templar Knight iconography to condone his actions.
Why would he copy you?
I think he’s just one crazed man. I think he's just created a story to make himself look a lot bigger than he actually is. Ultimately, he's made it look like he’s pointing his finger directly at me and the people I’m associated with.
Will any EDL members be worried about the prospect of links between themselves and Breivik coming to wider attention?
The EDL are a bunch of lying hypocrites and they’re pushing for a full-on confrontation in our country. They put on the face of being a peaceful group, but really they’re pushing for a civil war. The intelligence services aren’t stupid, and right now extreme far-right groups like the EDL will just be worried about being banned. Their leadership will certainly be worried that someone in their ranks did have connections with that man and that that will come out. If there is any link with Alan Lake, it will be interesting to see how that situation plays out.
In your opinion, do you think there are more terrorists like him?
Yeah, I think there’s always going to be far-right people out there who’ll commit terrorist attacks.
Well, that's terrifying.