So, it seems that certain individuals within the Muslim world are aghast at a series of cartoons that depict the prophet Muhammed in a less than flattering manner.
One quote attempts to make the case that, if it were Jesus being defamed, the Western world might react differently:
"Freedom of speech has its limits when it concerns others... How would it feel if Jesus Christ was the one insulted instead?"
Randa Ahmed Essa, Egypt
In fact, according to this story at scotsman.com, Jesus has been insulted by a new comic book, entitled The Life of Jesus. And indeed, the article concludes that the book is jumping off the shelves, this in a country where the population is predominantly Christian (or at least, more Christian than Muslim).
Apparently, the Muslim world has trouble comprehending what us Westerners mean when we say "Freedom of Speech." This is the freedom to defame leaders, to poke fun at deities, and to laugh at current world events.
In fact, I thought that some of the cartoons were actually rather funny. See for yourself:
Insensitive to another world religion? Perhaps. But, learn to laugh. In this country (the United States), people make fun of one another all the time. I could see myself having laughed at this cartoon that implicitly compares the Unibomber to back-to-the-land environemntalists back in the 90's. Similarly, what conservative wouldn't at least chuckle at this liberal cartoon site?
Frankly, on this one I must say that I'm going to come down on the side of freedom, liberty, and the free press. At the same time, people do have the freedom to peacefully assemble and express their viewpoints, so if some people in the Arab world would like to come together to express their outrage at these cartoons, sure, that's perfectly OK. As long as it ends there, and nobody, you know, does anything drastic.
And, I sense that some people in the Arab world share this viewpoint. According to that same British (BBC) article, "In Jordan, an independent tabloid, al-Shihan, reprinted three of the cartoons on Thursday, saying people should know what they were protesting about."