Perhaps, despite howling 'free speech rights' and all that stuff, the Danish newspaper that published these now infamous cartoons could have chosen a better period in which to have championed the right to say what you want. Poor timing. Now, alas, ordinary Dutch people are likely to pay the price and extremist actions may well be directed against citizens of this country. It's a shame sometimes that hindsight cannot be avoided through better use of foresight.
I do know two Muslims and both are nice and rather gentle people, or at least they come over as being such. I've not really discussed their religious beliefs, but neither of them appears to be really devout and unlike certain Christians I have known, they have not attempted to convert me to the cause. All in all, they are, as are the majority, normal people who just want to get on with their lives. These normal people may also suffer as a result of these toons and all the resulting furore. Certain types will paint all Muslims with the same brush and normal people will probably bear the brunt of any retaliatory action which takes place.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
The result of all this may well be that previously non extremists could become more extreme in their views – and I'm not just referring to Muslims. How to get out of this silly spiral? Well, the possible first step might be for all sides to acknowledge, and this has been happening, that all the terrorism is really down to a small but violent minority. However, the media has been stoking fires rather effectively, and tends to give many the impression, I suspect, that the Muslim next door is a potential suicide bomber. This is not good and risks the creation of vicious circles. Releasing cartoons which would have done nothing but irritate the extremist elements (and have one or two rubbing their perverse little hands with glee) was a daft thing to do and normal Danes and Muslims may pay an unnecessary price as a result.
Let's hope this mess resolves itself before things get out of control.