I came to the Mohammed cartoon controversy nearly two weeks late, since I was in Serbia, and didn’t understand what was being said when I saw, on TV, crowds of Muslims rioting in streets. I finally got around to asking someone what the hell was going on, and started to get informed. Now I’m playing catch-up.

It seemed straightforward enough. The Danish Jyllands-Posten printed cartoons depicting Mohammed, who’s not to be pictured in any way according to Islamic tradition. Muslims were insulted, embassies got burned, death threats were issued, and murders occurred.

Even Bill Clinton said the Danes were at fault.

Then I heard that the cartoons making the rounds weren’t all quite legit. Extra-offensive images were slipped in. Fakes. Then it seemed that simply making images of Mohammed isn’t as offensive as it’s reported to be.

Mulling over this, I found out that the same cartoons were also printed in the middle of Ramadan 2005, in Egypt. Not only that—and that’s admittedly quite a lot—but in November, Romania’s Evenimentul Zilei published the same ones.

In neither case did anyone bat an eyelid.

Now, Danes are fleeing Indonesia.

Here’s a Sunday Herald piece trying to come to grips with the sequence of events. It’s certainly worth reading.

(Originally posted at the Contemporary Nomad)