Wulf, of Atlas Blogged, points out something interesting in The Cartoons are Symptom of a Problem, not the Cause. It is an interesting perspective, and one that should be developed further.
Jyllands-Posten’s publication of the cartoons [ed: the cartoons of Mohammed] is repeatedly called offensive. It should instead be seen as defensive. It would be appropriate to debate whether such defensiveness was warranted, but it must first be recognized as a defensive posture. Do so.
This is quite right, actually. There has been a campaign waged by Muslims in Europe and, to a lesser extent, North America to alter laws and cultural norms in order to remake Western culture to more closely resemble the culture these Muslims desire. Murder, terrorism and threats of murder and terrorism have been used to try and bring this about. Governments have been coerced into creating laws that protect religions from so-called hate speech (Great Britain, most notoriously). Editors of papers have been fired or sent on “sabbatical”. Plots of movies have been changed in response to pressure. News papers have refused to publish out of fear of reprisal.
These cartoons are not offensive, in the sense that they offend someone. The reality is, if these cartoons are offensive to you, then don’t read the paper that they are in, or browse the website displaying them. No, these cartoons are part of defending liberalism against totalitarians who use religion to motivate the masses.