Supposedly the Roman legal code did not include a punishment for blasphemy. This is natural in a multi-faith empire, but underscores a bit of very healthy thinking: blasphemy is not for human law to prosecute, but for the deity. If the deity cannot stand up for itself, it's not much of a deity, is it?
The violence of the prophet caricatures ought to be remembered in history books as one of the great missed opportunities of the 21st century. The initial reaction of the Muslim world was nothing short of admirable. Outrage, diplomatic statements and the boycott of Danish goods marked a fundamental shift in the attitudes of the Arabic population. While I do applaud the Jyllands Posten and the Danish government for defending European values - it was about bloody time - I was also pleased to see the Muslims use political measures to settle their differences with the West.
Part of ARLA's excess capacity could be picked up by Israel. And hey, they were never going to sell much Danish bacon in Saudi Arabia.
Alas, inertia prevailed and cries of "Kill the infidels!" ensued. A real chance to at least begin to reconcile Sharia and democracy was lost.
I saw a photo next to a news article, of the protesting crowd holding a banner: "Our religion does not allow unconditional freedom of speech!"
Well, ours does. Tough shit.