A point I have not seen mentioned in the discussion of the cartoon riots: the virulent ideology of Islamist extremism is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for violence.
As this discussion of meme propagation illustrates, the hearers must be inclined to act in certain ways. The message is the same in all cases, but its dissemination is not guaranteed.
There are at least 5 million Muslims in the US. Out of that number, there must be thousands who privately applaud the destruction and intimidation we have seen in the news. But none have attacked consulates or embassies. As far as I know, none have even staged public protests, certainly not with placards threatening our extermination.
Nor can this be attributed to isolation; communications technologies easily permit minorities of one in a thousand to link up and undertake coordinated efforts. Of the one million Muslims in California, a thousand could have taken to the streets of Sacramento with bloodcurdling slogans. But they didn’t.
And they won’t. Because they’ve got real jobs and real lives; because they can reasonably hope for attainment and enjoyment of the things that human beings find fulfilling: family, challenging and meaningful work, religion, prosperity … in coming to America, the evil seeds of extremism “fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.” Thank God.
UPDATE: There was a small, peaceful protest in Philadelphia yesterday morning.