UKIP leader Nigel Farage has blamed Wednesday’s massacre at a French magazine office on multiculturalism.
Speaking on LBC’s Breakfast programme, Mr Farage said the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead and 11 wounded, was a result of a lack of integration by migrants in European countries.
“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.
“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”, he said.
Charlie Hebdo had been previously targeted by Islamic extremists for its repeated lampooning of the prophet Muhammed.
Two gunmen stormed the magazine’s Paris offices on Wednesday morning murdering 12 people, including the magazine’s award-winning group of cartoonists, before declaring that the “Prophet has been avenged” and shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great).
Today it emerged that the two men were orphaned brothers of French Algerian origin who had recently been radicalized in Yemen.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg slammed Mr Farage’s comments, saying the UKIP leader was trying to score “political points” from the bloody murders in Paris.
He told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “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.
“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”, Mr Clegg said.
He added that the two Paris attackers had “perverted the cause of one of the world’s great religions, Islam, to further their own bloody ends”.
Meanwhile, Booker Prize-winning British Indian author Salman Rushdie condemned the attack on Charlie Hebdo, saying it was the result of a “mutation in the heart of Islam”.
Rushdie, who was himself the target of an Iranian death ‘fatwa’ or decree following the publication of his book ‘The Satanic Verses’, said that extremism posed a real threat to freedom of expression.
“Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms”, Rushdie said.
“This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.
“‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’”
“Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect”, he added.