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Paris Muslim group 'plotted to murder Jews'

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A French anti-Islamophobia group is on trial in Paris, accused of plotting a terrorist attack on Jewish shops.

The group, which called itself the "Knights of Pride" and was led by 37-year-old "Emir" Mohamed Achamlane, was formed in 2010 and drew attention for staging protests against the ban on veils in France.

During the trial on Monday, Achamlane denied any "terrorist inspiration", saying: "I am not racist, I am not an antisemite."

However, prosecutors put forward evidence showing that the group had compiled a list of Jewish shops in Paris that they had been planning to attack.

Those included other branches of Hyper Cacher, the scene of the gun siege in January that left four Jewish shoppers dead.

‘By Allah, we will put scars on France’

The court also heard that Achamlane had released a video of himself saying: "By all-powerful Allah, we will put scars on France." Kalashnikov rifles were allegedly visible behind him as he spoke.

In his defence, Achamlane said: "We wanted to make a provocative video with a wall of Kalashnikovs and my bearded head to redress the balance," adding that he felt Muslims were "excluded" from French society.

"Since the tragic events of January, things are being whipped up out of all proportion," said Berenger Tourne, Achamlane's lawyer.

After the group was disbanded by the government in 2012, it 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 said.

Achamlane and the group's 14 other members deny they were involved in a terror plot.

The trial is due to last until June 23. If convicted, they face 10-year sentences, followed by probable expulsion from France.

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