Chellali Benchelalli was born in Algeria in 1946. He arrived in France in 1963 and found a job as a window washer in the suburbs of Lyon. In 1972, Chellali Benchelalli married a young Algerian woman named Hafsa. Together they have six children, all born in France.
In 1993, Chellali Benchelalli began raising money and traveled to Bosnia to distribute food and clothing to besieged Muslims. On his fifth trip there, Croatian soldiers seized him and two other men from Venissieux, a suburb of Lyon, and held them in brutal conditions for five months.
Chellali Benchelalli came back to France with even stronger religious convictions and began preaching in the ground-floor activity room of his apartment block. The room soon became known as the Abu Bakr Mosque.
Chellali Benchelalli was a radical Salafist Imam (see – Salafiya) and three of his sons turned to militancy: Mourad Benchelalli was captured by American forces in Afghanistan in operation “Absolute Justice”; Menad Benchelalli was arrested on 12/25/2002 as the chemical expert of the Lyon Cell; His older son - Hafed Benchelall, his wife Hafsa and himself were arrested too on 01/06/2004 on suspicion of aiding the Lyon Cell.
Chellali Benchelalli used, regularly, to show to his audience in the Mosque films from Chechnya and Palestine which reflected the suffering of Muslims in those places.
In his trial Chellali Benchelalli admitted that he had known of his son's, Menad Benchelalli, attempts to make deadly toxins.
Chellali Benchelalli was deported, on 09/07/2006, with his wife and children from France back to Algeria.
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