Found this on Aljazeera, edited it a bit, making it shorter.
Why are some Muslims so angry over the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad?
All the prophets – Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, and others – are highly respected figures in the Islamic faith. One cannot differentiate between them in terms of the reverence that should be given to each. Therefore Muslims believe that the prophets have a higher status than other people. To ridicule them or their lives is an insult to the origin of their faith, and therefore any abuse to them is abuse of Muslims in general.
Why does the Quran, which Muslims regard as the continuation of the Jewish and Christian holy books that came before it, consider depictions of the prophets to be blasphemous while the other religions do not?
Islamic scholars have forbidden the depiction of the prophets. One of the reasons is out of respect to them.
Are the only Muslims angry over the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad are crazy conservatives?
Such abuse of the Prophet Muhammad or other Prophets enrages all of the Muslims everywhere around the world because it is an attack on their beliefs, and an abuse of a highly respected figure of their religion.
Are the cartoons and videos depicting the Prophet Muhammad not just examples of individuals or publications practicing freedom of speech in their respective countries?
Muslims cannot perceive these acts as merely “freedom of expression”, because there is a difference between freedom of expression and these actions. The former is holding an opinion or idea, while the latter is seen as abuse and ridicule. You’re supposed to use freedom of speech for stuff like human rights abuse, not for provocation like this.
Is there a political element to these protests?
We have to differentiate between the anger and abuse that Muslims feel towards insults against their beliefs and the reaction that we’re seeing today in the form of protest, some of which could be considered politically motivated.
Some parties are exploiting the anger for political or non-political purposes. For example, Hassan Nasrallah called for protests in Lebanon to improve his image that is suffering over his support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Why are some religious leaders in the Muslim community encouraging protest?
All scholars condemn the violent protests but they express their ideas of how to show their objection differently. Some of them encourage peaceful protest, while others think that issuing statements is enough. Others prefer to guide people to follow the Prophet’s way of life and others prefer to clarify and explain the Prophet’s teaching to western society.