A group of Islamic radicals have been charged with planning to kidnap a French judge.
Prosecutor Francois Molins said that the Forsane Alizza group, or Knights of Pride, did physical training in parks and forests, collected weapons and preached hate and violence on their internet site, showing clips of Osama bin Laden.
The site was shut down after authorities banned the group in March.
Mr Molins said the investigation showed the network was organised around Forsane Alizza leader Mohammed Achamlane.
He stressed the group had no link to the killing spree last month in Toulouse that left seven dead. Suspected gunman Mohamed Merah was killed in a police stand-off.
The head of France’s Central Directorate for Domestic Intelligence (DCRI), Bernard Squarcini, said on Saturday that those arrested the previous day were French nationals involved in “warlike training, linked to violent religious indoctrination”.
Some of those arrested belonged to a suspected extremist group called Forsane Alizza, he said, and had been involved in paintball gun games.
Forsane Alizza chief Mohamed Achamlane was on Monday transferred to Paris where he was to appear before anti-terror magistrates who already extended the custody of the 15 other suspected Islamists arrested on Friday.
French anti-terrorism legislation allows for suspects to be held for four days, or until Tuesday.
Three of the 19 people arrested on Friday have already been released, and those still in custody could be charged later Tuesday. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins was to hold a press conference around midday.
The alleged militants were netted in antiterrorist swoops in different French cities a week after self-confessed al-Qaeda militant Mohamed Merah was shot dead following his killing spree in which he killed seven people. […]
France on Monday announced the expulsion of five radical Islamic preachers – an Algerian, a Malian, a Saudi, a Turk and a Tunisian – as part of a crackdown in the wake of the Merah killings.
France 24 says Forsane Alizza’s
propaganda videos, still available on YouTube, feature a bizarre vision of a modern France blended with an idealised, ancient caliphate. As a train rumbles over the Loire River, a group of bearded men – some in flowing djellaba robes and keffiyeh scarves, others in hoodies and track pants – proclaim their support for polygamy and the niqab (the full Muslim veil) while ranting against a western media bias.
Since its formation in 2010, radical Islamist group Forsane Alizza (Knights of Pride) has gained notoriety for propaganda stunts and provocative demonstrations on issues ranging from “Zionist products such as McDonalds” to the French ban on praying in the street.
rench Interior Minister Claude Gueant banned the group in February 2012, after a government investigation. But their propaganda videos, some of them featuring improbable scenes of keffiyeh-encased youths engaged in paintball sessions in verdant French woodlands or underground parking lots, are still available online.
French security officials say the group’s arsenal includes a lot more than water soluble dyes and paintball guns.
In a massive, multi-city crackdown on the group on 30 March, French security forces recovered an “impressive lot” of Kalashnikov rifles, tear gas canisters and about eight handguns, according to Bernard Squarcini, head of France’s domestic intelligence agency. […]
According to Claude Moniquet, president of the Brussels-based European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre, the raids proved “French authorities have decided to fight [jihadist] propaganda, which is very important in the radicalisation process”.
A relatively small group, Moniquet estimates that Forsane Alizza has around “15 or 20 members and a few hundred sympathisers”. However, he adds, “when they post a video on YouTube for instance, you immediately get up to 20,000 people viewing it. So it very clearly has a resonance in the Muslim youth community”.
Headquartered in the western French city of Nantes, from where Achamlane was arrested in the March 30 sweeps, Forsane Alizza calls for the worldwide establishment of Islamic sharia law and for France to become an Islamic caliphate.
Achamlane uses the nomme de guerre Abu Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet, which also happens to be the name of the one-eyed, hook-handed former cleric at London’s Finsbury Park mosque, who is currently serving a sentence in Britain for inciting racial hatred.
According to Jean-Yves Camus, a specialist on Islamist groups at the Paris-based Institute of International and Strategic Relations, it’s “the sort of group we often find in Britain, which is primarily aimed at recently radicalised youth. Forsane Alizza members proclaim their pride and allegiance to Salafism and jihadism, but they have very little knowledge of Islam. It’s a group that wants to get noticed.”
Experts say that unlike Britain, France has an aggressive system of infiltration into Islamist mosques and groups aimed at the early detention of potential suspects.
Note: It it the policy of Religion News Blog to file hate activities in the ‘hate groups’ topic. That is not a reflection on all Muslims, but a recognition of the fact that certain Muslims use their religion as an outlet for acts of hatred — which in our opinion includes the struggle to make others submit to Islam through such things as Jihad and the imposition of Sharia in civilized, democratic countries.