OK, I’ll be honest. I think that the cartoons are funny. However, I can see what people mean when they say they are in bad taste. I don't much fancy piss-Christ; I understand where they're coming from. I’ve not, however, burnt down any buildings in rage. Which would be in still-worse taste.
So why is it that they don't understand that Western freedoms include the right to publish nasty / funny cartoons such at this one?
The problem may be that Islam is structurally in tension with secular democracy. Muslims cannot seperate out church and state - so everything is religious, and therefore political. It seems that Western secular democracy is not compatible with the religion. Paradise will arrive when the world is ruled by an islamic theocrat - so they work for an islamic theocracy, and against Western Democracy.
When Jesus comes again, we will be living under something approaching military dictatorship. Therefore, the logic seems to go, we'll work towards the islamic military dictatorship and let the second coming sort itself out.
I'm not making this up - here are two of the major pre-conditions for the resurrection of Muslims at the end time:
1. "Al-Mahdi will come at the time of Al-Dajjal. He will call to the true Islam, and will be a military leader. His name will be exactly like that of the Prophet: Muhammad ibn Abd-Allah, and his father's name will match the Prophet's father's name also. He will be descended from Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet."
2. "Isa (Jesus) will come at the time of Al-Dajjal and al-Mahdi as well. He will descend at the time of Fajr prayer on a masjid in Damascus, the capital of Syria. He is of medium height, red-faced, and his hair is as if he just took a shower. He will call people back to Islam, but he will also be a military leader. The People of the Book will revert to Islam, and wealth will be super-abundant. Isa will break the cross, kill the swine, and personally slay Al-Dajjal. He will stay on Earth for a long time thereafter, and then die."
Also of interest, is that the Muslim political system is expected to go from Prophetic leadership to a just Khilafah to a 'biting' authority to an oppressive authority and finally back to a just Khilafah.
Just a Khilafah... depending on which branch of Islam you follow, this means being ruled by a temporal leader who merely enforces Islamic law, or being ruled by an Islamic leader who is the arbiter or judge of Islamic law, as well as the enforcer - as were Mohammad, Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, and Ali ibn Abi Talib.
This leads us back to the problem with the bomb-Cartoon. It's against Islamic law to depict Mohammed under any circumstances – it’s a form of idolatry. Satire on the topic isn’t just bad taste, it’s literally blasphemous or sacrilegious.
In Sharia law, the punishment for blasphemy is death; the punishment for idolatry is death. So these are the punishments they seek to impose. In the Islamisc system of values, depicting big Mo with a bomb in his turban is worse than peddling the protocols of the elders of zion, or denying the holocaust - because the Quran condems those who diss Mo, and is (at best) silent on Jew-hating.
And so, intimidated, and wishing to lead a peaceful life - rather than take one in the chest like Dutch film maker Theo van Geogh - we self-censor. By doing so, we edge closer to de facto Sharia law.
Thankfully, there are plenty who refuse to be cowed; they are now going to have to kill heaps of people - everyone's doing it. The site draw mohammad contains a gallery of the best - and worst.