Established By: Mohamed Achamlane;
Also Known As: Unknown;
Country Of Origin: France;
Leaders: Mohamed Achamlane;
Key Members: Mohamed Achamlane;
Operational Area: France;
Number Of Members: 100;
Involved In: Protests, Preparing and planning terrorist attacks;
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Forsane Alizza has an extreme Salafist ideology and is skilled in sophisticated, provocative propaganda videos and social networks. Its original aim when founded in August 2010 was said to be to protest “Islamophobia.” But an attack, with anti-Semitic outbursts, on a McDonald’s (not usually considered a Jewish name) restaurant in Limoges showed its immediate turn to violence.
The group has called for Islamic Sharia law to be introduced worldwide, and for France to become an Islamic caliphate. Forsane Alizza was only believed to have around 100 members or fewer.
Since its formation in 2010, it has staged protests on issues including the ban on wearing the veil in public. Following a government investigation, the group was banned by Interior Minister Claude Gueant in February. He accused it of being an armed militia, in violation of the principles of the French Republic.
On June 8, 2015, the trial began in a Paris court of 15 members of the banned terrorist group Forsane Alizza (Knights of Pride), who are accused of preparing and planning terrorist attacks on French Jews and businesses, and other targets.
French police who arrested the individuals found incriminating documents, and also three AK-47 assault rifles, grenades, and pistols in the possession of the group. Forsane Alizza had posted a message saying it was looking for new members, “above all soldiers”, who were already adept at “combat sports”.
The group’s leader Mohamed Achamlane said at the time that this did not necessarily mean it was going to put armed men in uniform. He is among those arrested in raids on suspected Islamic militants this month, as a result of investigations into possible accomplices of Mohamed Merah, who shot dead seven people earlier this month. During the raid weapons were found at his home, according to police sources.
Following the shootings in Toulouse and Mountauban, the French TV station BFM said it had information that Mohamed Merah was associated with Forsane Alizza. Shortly after the group was banned by the government, Mr Achamlane said that if Islamophobia continued to intensify it might be necessary to respond with violence.
Its first known action was by a dozen people who invaded a McDonald’s in Limoges in June 2010, shouting anti-Semitic slogans. Later in 2010, it also staged protests against plans by the American pastor Terry Jones to burn the Koran. Although its website is no longer accessible, French newspapers say Forsane Alizza’s videos can still be found on the internet.
Investigators pointed to a “declaration of war” against France in video and text posted on Forsane Alizza’s Web site. It issued an ultimatum to France to withdraw its troops from Muslim territories and scrap a law banning face-covering veils worn by some Muslim women.
Forsane Alizza had been planning to attack the newspaper Libération, which had housed the editorial team of Charlie Hebdo, whose offices had been bombed. As a result, in February 2012, Claude Guéant, the French minister of the interior, banned the group.