The answer to this question is quite simple: France is a nation-state, if you wish to be part of the French nation you need to fulfill its two most fundamental clauses:
- the desire to adopt a common history, in its glory and its shame
- the desire to live and thrive together: "to have achieved great things and achieve more, together"
France is an assimilationist country and the French state takes its sovereignty from the Nation i.e the People. If you wish to come here, if you wish to be part of it, then you need to uphold its principles and traditions.
And of course, it should be needless to say that no one is forced to come here and that on the contrary, they are urged to leave as soon as possible if they find out that they have a burning desire to murder journalists- cartoonists when those draw their prophet the wrong way. That is non-negotiable.
I find it remarkable that the "multicultural crowd" fails to adjust their views so they can be sound with their moral principles when switching their country-wide frame of reference to a global one. If you sincerely believe that cultural minorities have a right to govern themselves and that moral monism is "oppressive" then how come haven't you figured that the French are an underwhelming minority at the world-scale and that their conception of the good life (eudaimon) - not only differs than yours - but includes protecting their public space from religious interference.
So to reply to your question and playing to your rules, dear author:
>And again, is a culture that takes mortal offense when an image it holds sacred is mocked a second-rate culture that needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, my twenty-first-century that is?
Mutatis mutandis, this apply exactly to your disdain for the French tradition of satire that you hold in perspective with your globalised view of the world.
And this is where I disagree. One of the biggest issue of France is that in reality, there's always a difference between "visible minority" and the rest of the people (economic, social and politic), even when you cleary agree with the valors and culture.
Then, there's the issue of the killers themselves : they are byproducts of France, born and raised in Paris, not first time immigrants! Even if they were trained outside from France. While I am _not_ excusing what they did or saying they're victims, I honestly think they're something broken in french society.
I honestly think the Muhammad satire was just an excuse to spread terror.
When Europe was operating without a bit of hand-wringing, it seems to have overrun much of the rest of the world, taken charge, planted colonies, and run said rest of the world for its own benefit. Likewise, we here in NA have a certain history of transplanting people who have something we want into camps in the stinking desert. Or into the ground, whichever is more convenient for all involved.
Most also have reasonably broad freedom of expression, so for instance advocating the passage of laws making it illegal to depict Mohammad is fine, in France as in most other western democracies, I'm quite sure. Even advocating that the death penalty be reinstated and used as punishment for this "crime" would be acceptable.
But taking the law into ones own hands, "executing" people for purported "crimes", is of course both illegal and morally indefensible...