Young men in groups like to break things. Most are restrained by decency and their moms to not do it very often, and not with other people's stuff. But they still want to. They are always in the market for an ideology that would make it a good thing to go out and break other people's things. If they think they are protecting something precious – family, country, faith – you can get up a mob of angry young men in an instant. They will march down a handy street and break windows, burn cars, and beat up anyone remotely connected to The Enemy.
Which brings us to the Cartoon Riots. All over the world we have had Muslim mobs, mostly young men, rioting, burning, breaking, beating. All things Danish, previously among the least offensive objects in the world, are targets for destruction. Guys who sold Danish flags made money selling them to the mob, so they could be burned.
It is safe to say that 99% of the rioters had never seen the cartoons. They just heard that a Danish newspaper had printed some cartoons that made fun of the prophet Mohammad. In this country that would lead to angry letters to the editor of the paper. I have seen the cartoons. If the paper had run them without any indication that they were supposed to represent the prophet Mohammad, you would never know. They look like ordinary depictions of bomb-throwing Arabs that you can see in any Western paper in any given week. If they had said that they represent some guy named Mohammad, not THE Mohammad, sensitive people, Muslim and otherwise, would have tut-tutted and turned the page.
The guys who are making the cartoon riots wanted to have a riot. You can find guys like that in every market and bar and lounging place in the world. Different mobs have different triggers, but none of them require much to set them off.