If Christians reacted to every slight and every bit of humor at their expense the way these Muslims have, they would have killed off the rest of the world by now.
I thought I had a lot more to say about this, but the matter has skyrocketed since I started this post, and frankly, enough has been already said by better than I. I will say this much though: western cultures do not really understand the Muslim cultures even fractionally as well as they think they do. And it goes the other way as well. There is no other way to categorize the response to these cartoons than as over reaction. If the Danish publishers understood the offense they were causing, they likely would have elected not to publish them. And if the Muslims protesting that publication so violently really understood the mindset that led to that publication, they probably would still have been offended, but they would not have taken their protests so far.
The best analogy I can think of is of someone telling jokes at a dinner party. Let’s say this person has decided to joke about the mentally retarded, and, unknown to him, one of his listeners has a retarded child. If he knew, it’s likely he wouldn’t make the joke; but even if he did, should the rightfully offended father pull out a gun and shoot him for it? No, at the most, he would coldly tell the man how distasteful the joke was, and more than likely the joker would apologize and that would be that. The relationship would be strained, perhaps, but it’s unlikely there would be violence. The father knows this guy was just making a joke, but it was too personal to be funny. If he was telling fat people jokes, or dumb blond jokes, or lawyer jokes, he would be laughing along with the rest. Likewise, the Muslim community needs to let the rest of the world know that they do not consider this humorous – it’s too personal, too sacred to them. But destroying property and killing people is not the way to express it. They are only strengthening the cultural divide, and nothing good can come of that.