Last week I was listening to a CNN clip on line about the group that has come to everyone’s attention because of Anders Behring Breivik’s killing spree in Norway. He claimed in his rambling manifesto to represent a modern-day “Knights Templar”.

Knights Templar Burning
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. (And yes, they were in The DaVinci Code!)

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.

The commentator went on to discuss a report I had never heard of before…the European Union’s 2010 Terrorism Situation and Trend Report which has some pretty 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.

General overview of the situation in the EU in 2010

  • 249 terrorist attacks
  • 611 individuals arrested for terrorist related offences
  • 46 threat statements against EU Member States
  • 307 individuals tried for terrorism charges
  • The internet: a crucial facilitating factor for terrorists and extremists

Islamist Terrorism

  • 3 Islamist terrorist attacks carried out in the Member States
  • 179 individuals arrested for Islamist terrorist offences
  • 89 individuals arrested for the preparation of attacks in the EU
  • Terrorist recruitment and support networks are active in many EU Member States
  • The security situation outside the EU impacts on Islamist terrorist activities inside the EU

Maybe one of the things that we can learn from the events in Norway is that there are many different types of terrorist and extremist organizations in the world and that we need to keep our eyes open from attacks from a wide variety of sources.  Remember the Oklahoma City bombings as an example.  To get a copy of the report go to…/tesat2011.pdf