Nick Clegg 'dismayed' at Nigel Farage blaming 'gross policy of multiculturalism' for Charlie Hebdo attacks

Video: Nigel Farage told LBC that the shootings in Paris highlighted the 'gross policy of multiculturalism' back in Britain

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The Independent Online

Nick Clegg has accused Nigel Farage of political point scoring after the Ukip leader claimed that multiculturalism was at fault for Wednesday's terror attack on a French satirical newspaper in Paris.

12 people were killed after a terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo when, according to witnesses, two gunmen shouted "Allahu Akbar", meaning "God is great", before storming into the editorial meeting.

The offices of Charlie Hebdo had been firebombed in 2011 for a depiction of Prophet Mohamed on the front cover of the magazine which said "100 lashes of the whip if you don't die laughing!" under a banner saying "Charia Hebdo" in reference to Sharia law.

Talking about the attack and its possible causes, the Ukip leader said, "The real question is this: We in Britain - and I’ve seen some evidence in other European countries of it too - have pursued a really rather gross policy of multiculturalism and by that, what I mean, is that we’ve encouraged people who have come from different cultures to remain within those cultures and not to integrate fully within our communities."

Ferrari replayed the quote to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who sounded clearly exasperated when he responded, struggling at first to find the words as he sighed into the microphone.

"I’m dismayed really that Nigel Farage immediately thinks on the back of the bloody murders that we saw on the streets of Paris yesterday, his first reflex is to seek to make political points," Clegg said.

Clegg said that if the gunmen were two individuals who had "perverted the cause of Islam to their own bloody ends" then "the greatest antidote to the perversion of that great world religion, Islam, are law abiding British Muslims themselves".

Clegg continued, "To immediately suggest that somehow, or imply, that many, many British Muslims, who I know feel fervently British but also are very  proud of their Muslim faith, are somehow part of the problem rather than part of the solution is firmly grabbing the wrong end of the stick."

Police have said that the two gunmen are Said and Cherif Kouachi, both in their early 30s. They are believed to be part of the 19th arrondissement network that is named after the suburb of Paris they lived in however it is not yet confirmed if the group is affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The UK’s emergency committee Cobra will meet this morning in the wake of the massacre in Paris.

Home Secretary Theresa May will chair the meeting with government ministers, police and security advisors discussing how best to co-ordinate action after the Paris attack.