Flemming Rose, the culture editor of Jyllands-Posten who commissioned and published those now infamous cartoons, explains the decision in a must-read piece in today’s WaPo:
Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn’t intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.
(We now return you to your regularly scheduled non-current affairsy posts.)