I ask not for rhetorical reasons but because I truly do not know. Are the terrorists winning? Is it murder and mayhem that has compelled Europe to be so conciliatory towards terrorist organizations and unacceptable behavior within its own Muslim communities (Such as honor killings and rioting) or is it a mixture of compassion and guilt? Is it the fact that Israel will never respond to speech (as it should not) that makes it such a common target for the commentariat, or a true disgust at Israeli actions?
I think to some extent they have. The clearest example, at least to me, was during the Danish cartoon crisis. This was a case where the sides of right and wrong were clearly drawn. The cartoonists have the right to draw whatever they like, and anyone who proposed violence or rioting as an appropriate response was in the wrong. Instead of standing by the cartoonists the West hemmed and hawed and hedged. Many politicians and ministers blamed the Danes for inciting violence, as if simply saying something that you know is going to piss someone off is the same as urging a person to commit violent acts.
Muslims demand that their religion be respected above all others and threaten those that refuse them with violence. Theo Van Gogh was murdered because of a film he was making. The threat is not imaginary. It is also not a threat that can be surrendered to. The proper response to the cartoon crisis was to draw even MORE offensive cartoons and take the side of liberty and freedom over ignorance and repression. Mohammad should have been shown drinking goat semen, consuming the feces of camels, romping between the sheets with his child bride. Instead we got a lot of "They shouldn't have done that" and some timid cartoons about how dangerous it would be to speak one's mind.
Islam has succeeded in repressing discussion of it in the west. For example it is "in bad taste" to point out the various unsavory aspects of Islam, such as the constant calls to intolerance in the Koran. We're not supposed to draw images of Mohammad. We're not supposed to point out that Islam represses women like no other religion on earth right now. This is bullshit. Just as I can tell a Christian that I think Jesus was self-contradictory and a fraud I should be able to tell a Muslim that Mohammad was a loon.
If the forces of ignorance are able to curtail this discussion through whining or threats then the terrorists ARE winning. And that, in and of itself, is terrifying.