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God's name

• The debate surrounding the 'Innocence of Muslims' film has centred around the conflicting concepts of freedom of speech and blasphemy. Freedom of speech and religious tolerance are worthy ideals, but surely the main issue here is that nobody -- whatever their beliefs -- has the right to lash out and murder someone else because they feel their beliefs have been denigrated.

This brings back memories of Valentine's Day, 1989, when the head of a theocratic state suborned the murder of a foreign national (Salman Rushdie) living in another country for writing a work of fiction.

Thereafter the book's Japanese translator was stabbed to death; its Italian translator was seriously injured in a stabbing; its Norwegian publisher was shot and 37 people were murdered in Turkey when its Turkish translator was the intended target. And all this in the name of God?

Whatever the relative merits of the freedom-of-speech/blasphemy debate, nobody -- whatever their beliefs -- has the right to murder anyone else because they have taken offence at something said or done by such person, or any other person for that matter.

In this particular case, those murdered had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the alleged offence -- they were merely nationals of the country where the alleged blasphemer resides.

Murdering perceived opponents is not acceptable. This type of behaviour has no place in a civilised world.

The fact that I am withholding my name and address illustrates how real this danger is.

Irish Independent