right, that does it. freedom of speech is one thing, respect for the things we believe in is another. sure, i am not a muslim and thus it is easy for me not to condemn cartoons depicting mohammed (is the writing of this word another form of depicting?), but still...
i think the basis for any belief or religion should be that it enrichens our lifes. of course we can't all believe the same thing, but that's just how the cookie crumbles. a sense of idealism is great as far as religion is conerned - without hopes and dreams the world would crumble as fast as previously mentioned cookie would.
of course people are offended when you do exactly the opposite of what they think is valuable. that's only natural and i understand that it is no fun being made fun of. or at least, having the things you believe in, the things you value being made fun of. and it is another instance of freedom of speech that you can say you do not like such a thing and try to explain that making cartoons of that kind actually hurts people in the essence of their personal worlds.
but hurting people because the things you think are right are offended in this way, is so so so wrong. though i can feel the most warm-hearted sense of respect for those people who try to state their problems the way i mentioned in the previous paragraph, i can feel nothing but pure disgust (a strong word, i know that) towards people who do it the way it is done right now. i can have no respect at all for those who value their individual belief system over the lifes of other human beings. after all, a human life is the most precious of all, whether that life adheres to hinduism, the islam, buddhism, christianity, jewish faith, the scientology church, agnosticism, atheism or whatever. i think that hurting other people to "defend" your faith is a centrifugal motion in relation to the essence of that faith. there is no religion that preaches to hurt other people, there are only people who make their own versions of religion in order to use it as an excuse to do the things according to one's own principles, not according to that of the religious system. and this is a disease which not only affects the islam. (take one good look at the bible belt and ask yourself how such a thing is possible, how such dogmatism can rise out of the beautiful fundaments as laid out in the Bible. and how, for god's sake indeed, can you justify being a christian and at the same time sentencing people to death penalty?)
and then another thing (sorry for those who are already very bored by now, but this thing has got me going). have we so little faith in our belief systems that we feel the urge to protect them at any cost? do we esteem our own belief so low that we think it can be fundamentally disrupted by such a thing as a cartoon? and do we esteem our own powers so highly that we can assume that arrogance that leads us to start acting ourselves in the name of a Lord of any kind? where is the faith in a Final Judgment (a christian thing, i know, i know, but i'm writing on impulse here - ed.), in a Lord who can take action by His/Her/It own hands?
but anyway. believe what you want to believe in (for all clarity: im a steak of agnosticism myself, with a light dressing of buddhism), but make sure your belief does what it is supposed to do: make this world more bearable, more tolerable. do not, in any way, use your belief to add to the sometimes almost unbearable heaviness of being. and if problems arise, try to explain things in words. believe in the power of your belief to survive. but no more killing, no more hurting. please.