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Nick Clegg's powerful response to a man trying to justify the Paris shooting

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Nick Clegg delivered a powerful response to a man who tried to justify the shootings at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed yesterday.

It is thought Islamist militants carried out the attack in response to the magazine publishing provocative cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed. But when Omar, a caller to the Liberal Democrat leader's LBC show, suggested the cartoons were merely "the straw that broke the camel's back", an angry Clegg told him there could be "no excuse, no reason, no explanation" for the killings. We've transcribed the majority of the exchange between Clegg and Omar below, because it's worth reading in full.

Omar:

By purely just saying based on the cartoons this incident happened isn't it treating it quite superficially? The cartoons, you could look at it, were the straw that broke the camel's back. When ministers etc. start talking about what's happened there, why do they never talk about everything else that's going on? And then this happens at the end of it.

I'm sure when you look into these people, they claim to be defending the honour of the Prophet... was their lifestyle commensurate with people who the love of the prophet, peace be on him? You'll find it wasn't. It's not just the love of the Prophet which caused this action. It's a lot more. This is always taken out of the discussion and they just focus on the cartoons and it's just doing a disservice to the reality of how 1.4bn Muslims around the world feel.

Clegg:

I'm sorry, Omar, I've got to interrupt. I think if I understand you correctly, I cannot express to you how strongly I disagree with you. There can be no excuse, no reason, no explanation... They have killed cartoonists who have done nothing more than drawings which they so happen to find offensive.

Here's the bottom line, Omar, at the end of the day in a free society people have to be free to offend each other. You cannot have freedom unless people are free to offend each other. We have no right not to be offended. That fundamental principle of being free to offend people - and not saying somehow that you have a right not be offended in a democratic, open society such as ours is exactly what was under threat by these murderous barbarians. To even suggest, Omar, that there is a rationale, an explanation, a motive that somehow absolves them or sheds greater light on such a horrific, cold hearted, cowardly act, I find outrageous.

Omar:

You're absolutely right... But why is the rest of discussion not brought in? If they [the attackers] feel that - look - America, they were complicit in torture globally. It's all of these things together, Iraq being invaded.

Clegg:

Omar for heaven's sake don't mix things [up]... Of course it is utterly wrong the way in which it now appears that the American intelligence agencies and others according to that report were doing things which are totally unacceptable in a law abiding society. But to somehow mix that in any way with the perverted things that must have been going on in the heads of these individuals? To go into a newspaper office and shoot cartoonists, I mean, that you're even drawing the link I find so inexplicable. There is no link which can in anyway seek to explain such a random, such a cruel, such a cowardly act as what we saw in Paris yesterday.


On to a win, Clegg then went on to criticise Ukip leader Nigel Farage for seeking to make "political points" out of the killing.

You can watch his whole exchange with Omar, concluding with his comments about Farage, from 28 minutes below:


More: Charlie Hebdo massacre latest : What we do and do not know

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