The imam of the controversial mosque the Charlie Hebdo killers attended called for punishing the Dutch artists who drew the Mohammed cartoons in 2006.
Imam Larbi Kechat, who is connected with the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, called for the artists to receive divine punishment and said their artwork was the worst sort of terrorism. “The most abject terrorism is the symbolic kind, which spreads unlimited violence.”
He went further telling Le Figaro at the time. “The reaction of the Arab world is legitimate but some expressions and means [of expressing that anger] aren’t.”
In February 2003, Kechat told NPR that Europe needed to change to accommodate Muslims. “Islam is no longer a foreign phenomenon. Islam is a European reality. It’s time for Europe to wake up and change,” he told NPR.
In 1994 Kechat was placed under house arrest for 22 days for preaching anti-Western sermons by the French Interior Minister, Charles Pasqua.
In 2005 French counterterrorism units swept through Kechat’s mosque and arrested several Muslims planning to fight or support terrorist activities against U.S. forces in Iraq. One of those arrested was Cherif Kouachi, one of the terrorists behind the attack on Charlie Hebdo.