There is really little need to go into the details of the hullabaloo regarding the cartoons depicting Mohammed that started in a Danish publication and spread like wild fire.
However, people are ignoring a basic question: Cui bono? Who benefits from this agitation? Why would someone WANT such inflammatory rhetoric on both sides?
This controversy is nothing but the by-product of the symbiotic relationship between European and North American rightwing assholes and Mideastern rightwing assholes.
Let's do this in question-and-answer format.
Question: Who in the Arab world benefits from pointless agitation against infidel outsiders?
Answer: Two groups. One group consists of the Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood type of Islamic fundamentalists who crave a rematch of the Crusades. The other group is that comprised of the corrupt dictatorships that currently oppress most of the Muslim world. Their classic tactic is to divert the justifiable rage in their societies towards outsiders. "Blame the Americans! Blame the Jews! Death to Israel! Death to Denmark!" No group of governments have failed the people as utterly as those in the Muslim world--especially in the Mideast. Their records are indefensible, and anger in those countries is unavoidable. Instead of real reform and less corruption, these repulsive regimes instead play "blame the infidel."
Question: Who in Europe (and North America) benefits from both insults directed towards Islam and the altogether too predictable, manufactured response from certain Muslim countries?
Answer: Rightwing Islamophobic assholes. They offered the bait, and the usual idiots in the Muslim world bit. Now there are images (which last forever) of Muslims acting like crazy, irrational, violent, hateful maniacs. Serves the LGF crowd perfectly.
Question: What percent of the Muslim world has declined to engage in violence and hateful, dangerous conduct in response to this controversy?
Answer: Well, there are a few thousand Muslims engaging in this conduct, out of 1.3 BILLION BILLION BILLION Muslims.
Question: Who has been making the most noise for state censorship of these cartoons and punishing those who publish them?
Answer: Our friends the Saudis, Moammar Quadafy, Baby Assad, and a few random Emirs and Sheiks.
To recap: This controversy has been initiated, fed, revived, inflamed, and escalated by rightwing assholes.
Unfortunately, we progressives have been forced into addressing a debate that was never really a legitimate one. I myself have foolishly attempted to enter the "free speech" side of the debate.
But that's not the debate.
This is about the forces of hate and intolerance on either side trying to use this controversy to divide Muslims from Christians and Jews.
No Islamophobia, no hatred, no censorship, no dictatorships. It's really not a difficult stance to articulate. Let's do it.