Members of a French group that claimed it was formed to combat Islamophobia went on trial in Paris on Monday accused of plotting terrorist attacks, including against Jewish stores in Paris.
Led by 37-year-old "emir" Mohamed Achamlane, the 15 members of Forsane Alizza, who called themselves the "knights of pride," have denied involvement in a terrorist organization," reports AFP.
The group was formed in 2010, initially gaining attention for organizing protests against the government's decision to ban veils in public in accordance with France's legally defined secularism.
It was disbanded two years later by the government, which described it as a "private militia." After it was disbanded, the group put a message on its website demanding that French forces leave all Muslim-majority countries.
"If our demands are ignored, we will consider the government to be at war against Muslims," the message threatened.
Prosecutors have put forward evidence including a list of "targets" that highlighted Jewish shops in the Paris region; just this January an Islamist jihadists took a Jewish supermarket hostage and murdered four Jews.
Achamlane also released videos of himself giving inflammatory speeches with Kalashnikov rifles in the background, and using phrases such as "by all-powerful Allah, we will put scars on France."
He tried to play down the clear threat of violence, saying "wWe wanted to make a provocative video with a wall of Kalashnikovs and my bearded head to redress the balance."
"There is no radical or moderate Islam," he added. "There is only authentic Islam."
A police raid in 2012 led investigators to fear the group was armed; each member of the group faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The trial is due to run until June 22 or 23.