I would have dropped the issue altogether were it not from this BBC report which reveals an amusing fact about France Soir, the French daily that republished the cartoons: it is owned by Rami Lakah, French-Egyptian runaway businessman and politician extraordinaire. He's a pet obsession of mine, and I've mentioned his flirtation with neo-con circles here before. And he's now fired his managing editor for running the cartoons. I find it hard to believe that he would not have been consulted on this, and wonder what implications there will be for him -- unless it's a ploy for him to look good to Muslims, since he's always looking for ways to improve his public image here.
According to various reports in Le Monde (I can send links if needed but I think they're subscription-only), France-Soir has about one month of payroll left and is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. One of the surprising things about how Lakah should have known about the cartoons is that, as the picture on the right shows, France Soir made a big deal on coming out in favor of the Danish newspaper that originally published them. The headline says "Yes, we have the right to caricature God while the cartoon on the cover shows a Greek god, presumably, saying "Don't skulk, Mohammed, we've all been lampooned at one time or another," with Buddha and Jehovah (I think?) in the background.
In other words, Lakah either knew and then let his editor take the fall, or should have known. It'll be interesting to see how the Egyptian press, where Lakah-bashing is a national sport, reacts to this.
Update: Morocco banned that issue of France Soir from being sold there.