An Iranian newspaper is having a contest for Holocaust cartoons as a response to the Mohammed cartoons published in Denmark . I guess this is some sort of attempt to show the west what it's like to be offended by a cartoon. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Iran's embassies won't be burned down in westernized countries as a result. Even though the paper's contest won't get the desired effect it is a HUGE step forward for Iran since the newspaper is at least acknowledging the Holocaust as opposed to following their president's lead and saying that the Holocaust was a myth. By the way, this paper shouldn't act as though offensive and anti-semetic cartoons aren't already in Arab newspapers.
In the article about the cartoon contest the guy from the Iranian paper asks a question which I'd like to answer. The question he asks is "Does the West extend freedom of expression to the crimes committed by the United States and Israel, or an event such as the Holocaust? Or is its freedom only for insulting religious sanctities?" The answer is yes, we do extend freedom of expression to our own crimes, take for example Abu Ghraib. Or if you want to go further back consider Mia Li massacre in Vietnam. Both storys were allowed to be covered by the US media as free expression.
Lastly, here's one more observation on how the Muslim community needs to address this issue by categorically denouncing these violent protests. In the U.S. many Christians feel that a human life is created at the moment of conception (whether or not you actually believe this assume it to be true for the time being). As a result of abortion being legal people who feel this way believe that their government is allowing the murder of over a million babies a year. A few people with these beliefs have taken the law into their own hands and bombed or otherwise attacked abortion clinics in response. Every Christian denomination responded to these violent actions by denouncing anyone who did such actions. There was absolutely no waffling among Christians about how what the clinic bombers did was wrong. No Christians claimed that the bombings must be understood by considering how offensive the U.S. government's abortion policies were to the bombers. Instead these radical elements of Christianity were denounced at every turn by every denomination. I think it's time Islam hold itself to a similar standard. If U.S. Christians are able to condemn violent actions by extremist Christians in response to what they see as murder then I think Islamic leaders and lay people should be able to stand up and clearly condemn a violent response to what they see as a blasphemous cartoon.