What's offensive about it, Robert? These folks are trying hard to turn back the clock to the seventh century. I'll admit that sometimes I get a bit nostalgic about some things I enjoyed in the fifties, but longing for the seventh century is a bit much.
I'll have a go at an answer. No doubt others could do better though.
It's that the question "Anybody still wonder why these people are so backward?" comes across as breathtakingly arrogant. I'm not suggesting that you or any member of this forum think you are more important than other people, it's just how the question appears.
If I call someone backward it implies I am in some way superior, and people are entitled to ask in what manner this manifests. I'll use the USA as an example, but Europe or any other place would do.
Are folks in the USA morally superior? What do their divorce rates, crime statistics and imprisonment rates, care of the poor and sick show?
Are the better stewards of their environment?
Are they better stewards of their financial system and use it for the betterment of all?
In their day to day actions do they, as a nation, do the things that please God?
To say that those folks "over there" are worse is not an excuse for our own failings.
I think it a question of respect. So one Muslim cleric somewhere issues an opinion about photography. So what. If he advocates violence that's another matter. Hezekiah had the bronze sepent mentioned above destroyed because it became an object of superstitious veneration. If for religious reasons, in their corner of the world, some folks are concerned about such use and misuse of images, I have no problem with that. I won't knowingly photograph them.
But I may make them the subject of a little gentle humour.