Great stuff in response to my post below. Mahan, in particular, has been very helpful.
To review, I am wondering if being touchy about the Koran and depictions of Mohammed is a new thing or if it has always been there. The way I think about the Koran (and the Gitmo controversy about water being splashed on it, etc.) is that it is like a combination of an American flag and a communion host in a Catholic mass. It has both a symbolic nature that would cause one to become enraged at desecration and a sacred nature where it becomes like the body of a deity. Am I wrong?
There are some Christians who refuse to swear an oath in court, in a deposition, or for a government office. This is not like the atheist who objects to the reference to God. The Christian who "affirms" rather than swearing an oath is concerned about scriptural requirements to give only your word. Is there a similar school of thought in Islam? If so, does the special treatment of the Koran noted above play into the taking of a government oath?