Fanning the Flames

As the rage over the Muhammad cartoons burns on, TIME explains why the controversy erupted months after the caricatures appeared--and what could have averted the crisis

The marchers in Kabul last week were in their teens and early 20s, the kind of zealous, energetic youths Westerners might have hoped would be clamoring for democracy or human rights. Instead, the cause of their protest was caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, first published last September by a Danish newspaper called Jyllands-Posten, which in the past two weeks have provoked Muslims around the world to denounce not just the offending illustrators but also French newspaper editors, Norwegian diplomats, U.S. troops in Iraq and peddlers of Danish food. In Kabul the protest signs read DEATH TO DENMARK and DEATH TO THOSE WHO...

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