The English Defence League started out by claiming they were a pretty innocent but nationalist inclined group of people defending British values, etc. I have to say that some of the stuff coming out in their defence online – particularly this video comparing them to the Knights Templar – is very reminiscent of far right movements of the twentieth century.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Nazis were very keen on the occult and many senior figures had associations with the Society of Thule. To summarize the nonsense espoused by that long defunct society, the word Thule related to an ancient Greek reference to a mythical northern land which the members of this society took to be the ancestral home of the blond haired, blue eyed Aryan race. Hitler, they also claimed, was the ‘redeemer’ of the Aryan race – a rather pagan and distinctly un-Christian view, though influenced by Christian theology and iconography.
The Nazis were also up for characterizing the Templars as warriors against racially inferior types – which is not how the Templars viewed themselves. Go and read the writings of Bernard of Clairvaux against Jewish pogroms – not through any love of the Jewish people but because he believed they had to be around to witness the end of days.
The Nazis, main attention was on the Jews – not muslims. Indeed Hitler seemed to regard some muslim leaders as potential allies against the Jews hence his sucking up to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Today’s fascists however have alighted on Islam as the big enemy. So they feel much more able to utilize the Templars as yesteryear’s slayer of muslim fundamentalists and defenders of Christianity. But this projects our own modern hang ups backwards on to people who would not have recognised our concerns.
The Templars were not racist for a start. Indeed, they used ‘turcopole’ troops in their ranks – soldiers of Syrian or Turkic extraction. The leaders of the Order also made a point of having Saracen secretaries and even spoke Arabic. That’s not to say the Templars were soft on the Saracen enemy – far from it, they were its most implacable enemy. But the point was to defend the Holy places and allow pilgrimage access.
OK, that said – there were firebrands in the Order who would have liked to have gone much further. One Templar Knight was up for an assault on Mecca to exhume the body of the prophet. Needless to say it never happened.
By all means watch the above video which I feel a little squeamish about highlighting but it’s out there and let’s debate it here if you wish. My view for the record – the Templars would have had nothing to do with the EDL.