I have been debating this with a pakistani friend, french friend and scottish friend. All had very different points of view. The whole issue really made me think about the chapter on comedy in Status anxiety a book by Alain de Botton. Essentially, he explains that the cartoons that were drawn of kings, queens and Napoleon have the aim of bringing about change. In hist words: " The underlying, unconscious aim of comics may be to bring about - through the adroit use of humour - a world in which there will be a few less things to laugh about."
I think the cartoons that have been recently published of the prophet Mohammed are just trying to improve the way we understand one anothers culture and I hope that the people that have seen these cartoons as disrespectfull can attempt to see the funny side of some of the cartoons.