(Note: my previous post regarding the offensive cartoons of Mohammed is here. And if you're interested, I also penned an apologetic piece comparing Christianity and Islam after Muslim riots were sparked last summer by stories of abuse at Guantanamo Bay. That essay is here.)
The fear sown by the recent incitement of Muslims over a series of offensive cartoons published in a Danish newspaper is best summed up by this recent London Times headline:
In the Christian West, we place a very high value on personal freedom and the right to freedom of expression. It would be unthinkable for us as a society to rally by the hundreds of thousands in support of the deaths of people who had done nothing more than draw an offensive cartoon.
Through two thousand years of Christianity and continual progressive reformation, the governments of the West have divorced themselves from the business of missionary work, and have ceased to enforce the edicts of the Christian Church. What may dishonor or contradict the doctrines of the Church no longer dishonors or threatens the governments of our largely secular states; therefore, these things are no longer considered to be crimes. We have the freedom to deconstruct, criticize, or lampoon Christianity to our heart's content without fear of imprisonment or death. (Though for the sake of political correctness , we tend to shy away from the mockery of other religions.)
But in the Muslim umma, such freedoms do not exist. And those who wish to spread the umma into continental Europe and elsewhere have no qualms about killing anyone who would dare commit the sin of blasphemy.
And so, being largely secular and therefore placing a high collateral value upon our mortal lives, we take these death threats seriously. And devout Muslims, particularly the fanatical ones who place far more value on religious orthodoxy than on human life, and and who consider it an act of worship to die in the defense of their beloved Prophet, understand this fact very well:
As I said, our boys were shocked by the low morale of the American soldier and they realized that the American soldier was just a paper tiger. He was unable to endure the strikes that were dealt to his army, so he fled, and America had to stop all its bragging and all that noise it was making in the press after the Gulf War ... After a few blows, it forgot all about those titles and rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace, dragging the bodies of its soldiers. America stopped calling itself world leader and master of the new world order, and its politicians realized that those titles were too big for them and that they were unworthy of them. - Osama bin Laden, 1998