I hadn't read much of value about the cartoons of Mohammed, so it's worth pointing to an interesting commentary: The Ayatollah Joke Book - So, the Prophet Mohammed walks into a bar … By Michael Kinsley. Kinsley seems to be saying that this is indeed a fundamental conflict between freedom and fundamentalism. He's probably right. And yet ...
It's a crowded world these days. There are over 8 billion of us, and the low cost of communications means we're all in each other's faces all the time. Maybe someone has the theoretical right to pronounce the rightness of English rule in a Quebecois bar on St. Jean Baptiste day -- but it's hardly polite or wise. Today we're all sitting side-by-side in the same bar.
Sometimes we just have to fight. We are genus Pan after all. Mostly though, we should do what I do when some idiot cuts me off the freeway. I drop way back and give him lots of room. He's just declared what he is, and I need to respect his limitations.
Same thing here. The Muslim world is not a happy, successful, or vibrant place these days. More success may yet come, but for now we need to respect limitations.