Here is an excellent article about the "identity crisis" Danes are having over the cartoon controversy.
"The furor over the cartoons has been a wake-up call for Danes," says Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of the paper, Jyllands-Posten. Mr. Rose, who commissioned the cartoons in the fall, announced Friday that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from the paper. "We are used to seeing ourselves as a permissive and open society on the side of the good, and it is shocking to see Danes as objects of hate."...How terribly sad and painful this is. How can a liberal society defend itself against illiberalism? We depend heavily on what we believe is the demonstrable good of a free and open society. When confronted with large numbers of people who won't agree with our idea of the good, what can we do?
As Muslim protesters across the Middle East burned Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen in effigy this week, he insisted on Denmark's tolerance. "It's a false picture to portray us as an enemy of Islam," he said in an interview on Thursday.
But Muslim leaders have pointed out that such words fail to resonate when the government coalition includes the Danish People's Party, whose leaders have publicly compared Muslims to "cancer cells."...
In a sign that the cartoon crisis is fanning even greater anti-immigrant sentiment, the People's Party leader, Pia Kjaersgaard, wrote in her weekly newsletter that the Islamic religious community here was populated with "pathetic and lying men with worrying suspect views on democracy and women." She added: "They are the enemy inside. The Trojan horse in Denmark. A kind of Islamic mafia."
Imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen, a Danish convert to Islam, with ice blue eyes and a neatly trimmed goatee, argues that Denmark's self-delusions have been destroyed by the cartoons. Imam Pedersen, who converted 24 years ago and speaks fluent Arabic, says that before the cartoon crisis his Muslim identity was embraced by Danish friends. Now he says he is taunted as a "traitor" as he walks down the street and has even received death threats.
"Blockhead right-wing politicians in this country are saying Islam is a terrorist religion, that our prophet is a con man, that we take their jobs and steal their women," he said. "The tolerance it took decades to build up has been torn down in a matter of a few months."
The Danish People's Party insists that the violence spurred by the cartoon crisis has proved that its anti-immigration policies are justified. Morten Messerschmidt, a 25-year-old rising star in the party, said that rather than preaching intolerance, the party was in fact fighting to preserve Danish liberalism — including respect for gender rights and freedom of the press — which he believes has become increasingly irreconcilable with Islam.
"The crisis over the cartoons has been an eye-opener and has shown that the culture clash we have been predicting for 10 years had come to pass," Mr. Messerschmidt said. "These people we welcomed into our country have betrayed us."
UPDATE: Here's a BBC report on a big pro-Muslim rally in London:
The event aimed to explain the views of moderate Muslims towards cartoons published in a Danish newspaper which led to worldwide protests.That seems encouragingly moderate. But read this too, Mark Steyn's new column:
Organisers also said it wanted to dissociate the mainstream Muslim community from a "minority of extremists"....
A series of speakers gathered to support the Muslim community, including MP Jeremy Corbyn.
In his speech, which was met with cheers from the crowd, he said: "The only way our community can survive is by showing mutual respect to each other.
"We demand that people show respect for each other's community, each other's faith and each other's religion."
[The European Union's Justice and Security Commissioner, Franco] Frattini explained it to the Daily Telegraph, "The press will give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression. . . . We can and we are ready to self-regulate that right."
"Prudence"? "Self-regulate our free expression"? No, I'm afraid that's just giving the Muslim world the message: You've won, I surrender, please stop kicking me.
But they never do. Because, to use the Arabic proverb with which Robert Ferrigno opens his new novel, Prayers for the Assassin, set in an Islamic Republic of America, "A falling camel attracts many knives." In Denmark and France and the Netherlands and Britain, Islam senses the camel is falling and this is no time to stop knifing him.
The issue is not "freedom of speech" or "the responsibilities of the press" or "sensitivity to certain cultures." The issue, as it has been in all these loony tune controversies going back to the Salman Rushdie fatwa, is the point at which a free society musters the will to stand up to thugs. British Muslims march through the streets waving placards reading "BEHEAD THE ENEMIES OF ISLAM." If they mean that, bring it on. As my columnar confrere John O'Sullivan argued, we might as well fight in the first ditch as the last.
But then it's patiently explained to us for the umpteenth time that they're not representative, that there are many many "moderate Muslims.''
I believe that. I've met plenty of "moderate Muslims" in Jordan and Iraq and the Gulf states. But, as a reader wrote to me a year or two back, in Europe and North America they aren't so much "moderate Muslims" as quiescent Muslims. The few who do speak out wind up living in hiding or under 24-hour armed guard, like Dutch MP Ayaab Hirsi Ali.
So when the EU and the BBC and the New York Times say that we too need to be more "sensitive" to those fellows with "Behead the enemies of Islam" banners, they should look in the mirror: They're turning into "moderate Muslims," and likely to wind up as cowed and silenced and invisible.