This topic has now become more about rabble rousing than about anything else, and that possibly goes for both sides in roughly equal measure. The whole issue is beginning to irritate me immensely on various different levels that are sometimes pro-free speech and sometimes anti-stupidity.
Without wanting to sound superior I'd be fairly confident that a majority of muslims on the planet could not point to Denmark on a map of the world (kind of substantiated by the attacks on other scandinavian properties by the outraged masses). They therefore would be unlikely even to be aware of this situation if it were not for some individuals who've decided to make this into an issue for their own purposes.
I find it typically ironic that the powers of free speech that give journalists the "freedom" to publish these cartoons have also given the protestors the "freedom" to make a fuss about it. I value the freedom I have for others to take the piss out of me and my beliefs because I want to always have the right to do the same to them. Taking that away smacks of facism.
But at the same time, the democracy we live in sprang from a generally "western/christian" standpoint, and the beliefs I would now choose to protect so fiercely are coloured by those origins even though I am far from a christian. You can't get away from the fact that "elsewhere" the values upon which beliefs, laws and social orders are built are fundamentally different, and for those people living in such a culture our position is quite alien and wrong. No amount of persuasion on our part is likely to convince them otherwise, just as no amount of persuasion, bombs, bullets or other such tactics will persuade us to give up what we hold dear (generally, quite the contrary, in fact). In these conditions (and in an increasingly integrated world where we must live side by side with those who believe other than we) sense must prevail. Just as we do not have late night drug fuelled sex parties when we live upstairs from the Garda Commissioner, so we would be sensible not to go insighting those who are so easily insighted.
It isn't perhaps what we'd like, but just as in life we generally have to abandon our ideals as we grow older in favour of more practical compromises, so we as a civilised race may need to accept that some toes simply are not worth treading upon.