Appearance of Nick Griffin, the leader of the far-right British National Party (BNP) on the BBC Program 'Question Time, has caused uproar and raised questions about limitations on the freedom of speech. Should an individual be permitted to express views that cause offence to a certain section of the society? Even if the views are, technically, permitted by law, should the mass media encourage this by giving racist bigots like Nick Griffin a platform on a primetime TV slot? A more fundamental point in this debate is that should freedom of speech have a limit in the first place? With the exception of Nick Griffin, there was consensus amongst all the panelists of Question Time on the limitations of freedom of speech. Those limits specify that it is unacceptable to express views that are deemed racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic. Most pertinently, you should not deny the holocaust. Even questioning this sacred subject is taboo. However, you can express anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim views, no matter how much offence it causes. In fact, the more the better because it is often used by sections of western societies as a barometer for freedom of expression. After struggling against censorship for centuries, suddenly their freedom of expression rests on the freedom to insult Islam and Muslims. It is not surprising for Nick Griffin to express anti-Islamic or anti-Muslim views. As a racist bigot, he naturally dislikes foreign people and their culture. The rise of the BNP can be partially attributed to the demonization of Muslims and Islam fanned by sections of the mainstream media. The nasty propaganda machine of the West has often reversed the roles of the 'victim' and 'aggressor'. The cowboys were always the virtuous heroes chasing the terrorists of the time, the Native Americans, who were often depicted as irrational wild savages. If you think, this prototyping had something to do with the new colonizers taking over the lands and resources of the savages. Even today, all Muslims are depicted by the media as anti-Semitic louts, reversing the roles of victims, Palestinians, and aggressors, Israelis. -YAMIN ZAKARIA, London, November 8.