What is tolerance? Literally the word "tolerance" means "to bear. " As an idea it means "respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of the world's cultures, varieties of expression and ways of being human. " Thus this means to hold something acceptable or bearable.
Tolerance is the appreciation of diversity and the ability to live and let others live. It is the ability to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards those whose opinions, practices, religion, nationality and so on change from one's own. As William Ury notes, "tolerance is not simply agreeing with one another or remaining indifferent when confronted with injustice, but rather showing respect for the fundamental humanity atlanta divorce attorneys person. "
AN ABRIDGED VERSION OF PICKTHALL'S LECTURE:
In the eyes of history, religious toleration is the best evidence of culture in a people. It had been not until the Western nations broke from their religious law that they became more tolerant, and it was only once the Muslims fell away from their religious law that they declined in tolerance and other evidences of the highest culture. Before the coming of Islam, tolerance had never been preached as an essential part of religion.
If Europe had known as much of Islam, as Muslims knew of Christendom, in those times, those mad, adventurous, occasionally chivalrous and heroic, but utterly fanatical outbreak known as the Crusades could not took place, for these were based on a complete misapprehension.
Innumerable monasteries, with an abundance of treasure of which the worth has been calculated at no less than a hundred millions sterling, enjoyed the good thing about the Holy Prophet's (Muhammad's) Charter to the monks of Sinai and were religiously respected by the Muslims. The many sects of Christians were represented in the Council of the Empire by their patriarchs, on the provincial and district council by their bishops, in the village council by their priests, whose word was always taken without question on things which were the only real concern of their community.
The tolerance in the body of Islam was, and is, something without parallel in history; class and race and color ceasing altogether to be barriers.
One of the most typical charges brought against Islam historically, and since a religion, by Western writers is that it is intolerant. That is turning the tables with a vengeance when one remembers various facts: One remembers that not a Muslim is left alive in Spain or Sicily or Apulia. One remembers that not a Muslim was left alive rather than a mosque left standing in Greece following the great rebellion in l821. One remembers how the Muslims of the Balkan peninsula, after the majority, have been systematically reduced with the approval of the whole of Europe, the way the Christian under Muslim rule have in recent times been urged on to rebel and massacre the Muslims, and exactly how reprisals by the latter have been condemned as quite uncalled for.
Under the Umayyads and in Baghdad under the Abbasid Khalifas, Christians and Jews, equally with Muslims, were admitted to the Schools and universities - not only that, but were boarded and lodged in hostels at the cost of the state. Once the Moors were driven out of Spain, the Christian conquerors held a terrific persecution of the Jews. Those that were luckily enough to flee fled, a few of these to Morocco and many hundreds to the Turkish empire, where their descendants still are in separate communities, and still speak among themselves an antiquated form of Spanish. The Muslim empire was a refuge for all those who fled from persecution by the Inquisition.
THE WESTERN CHRISTIANS
Till the arrival of the Encyclopaedists in the eighteenth century, didn't know and didn't care to learn, the actual Muslim believed, nor did the Western Christian seek to know the views of Eastern Christians with regard to them. The Christian Church had been split in two, and in the long run, it came to such a pass that the Eastern Christians, as Gibbon shows, preferred Muslim rule, which allowed them to practice their own form of religion and adhere to their peculiar dogmas, to the rule of fellow Christians who would have made them Roman Catholics or wiped them out.
THE WESTERN CHRISTIANS CALLED THE MUSLIMS PAGANS
Paynims, even idolaters - there are many books where they are referred to as worshiping an idol called Mahomet or Mahound, and in the accounts of the conquest of Granada there are even descriptions of the monstrous idols that they were purported to worship - whereas the Muslims knew what Christianity was, and in what respects it differed from Islam. If Europe had known as much of Islam, as Muslims knew of Christendom, in those days, those mad, adventurous, occasionally chivalrous and heroic, but utterly fanatical outbreak known as the Crusades could not took place, for these were based on an entire misapprehension. i quote a learned french author:
That was the sort of "history" on which the populace in Western Europe used to be fed. Those were the ideas which inspired the rank and file of the crusader in their attacks on the most civilized peoples of these days. Christendom regarded the exterior world as damned eternally, and Islam didn't. There were good and tender-hearted men in Christendom who thought it sad that any people should be damned eternally, and wished to save them by the only path they knew - conversion to the Christian faith.
It had not been before Western nations broke away from their religious law that they became more tolerant; and it was only when the Muslims fell away from their religious law that they declined in tolerance and other evidences of the highest culture. Which means difference evident for the reason that anecdote is not of manners only but of religion. Of old, tolerance had existed occasionally on the planet, among enlightened individuals; but those individuals had been against the prevalent religion. Tolerance was regarded of un-religious, if not irreligious. Prior to the coming of Islam it had never been preached as an essential part of religion.
MUSLIM BACKGROUND BELIEFS
To understand the Muslim view of tolerance we need to understand some basic concepts of the Muslim worldview and resources of authority. The answer to many questions about Islam and its nature is linked with understanding "the very structure of Islam as a religious and political complex. " Although so called Christian Byzantine Empire and the Western Holy Roman Empire, with the close association of the Christian Church and the state of hawaii throughout the center Ages might suggest a similarity with the Islamic religious-political structure, it is a wrong assumption to consider them identical.  Islam is radically different in that in its very identity is a political-religious structure. Fazlur Rahman, a proper respected Muslim scholar writes: "Islam insisted on the assumption of political power since it regarded itself as the repository of the Will of God which needed to be worked on earth through a political order. . . To deny this fact would be both to violate history and to deny justice to Islam itself. "
The concept of God as "Allah" is of a being that is totally other, wholly transcendent to the point of implying that Allah is unknowable in himself but known in his will and requirements revealed in the Qur'an (Sura 42:11; 112:1-4). In what of any Muslim scholar: "You might not have complete transcendence and self-revelation at the same time. " This view of God is accompanied by a view of humans as the "slaves" of God (Sura 19:93). One major concept in Islam is captured in the very meaning of the word "Islam" itself: namely "submission, " which carries the sense of setting up arms before the victor and it is taken to exemplify the full total submission of each facet of life, as a person and society to Allah (The God).
The Qur'an teaches about itself that it's God's direct and verbal word, that it's eternal and came down from what's preserved in heaven (Sura 85:22) as the "Mother of the Book" (Sura 3:7; 13:39; 43:4). Although the Qur'an considers the Old and New Testaments as God's word (Sura 3:93; 4:163; 5:46 etc. ), it considers its authority as greater than theirs (Sura 5:48). Even the Arabic language of the Qur'an is known as an integral part of Allah's word (Sura 20:113; 12:2), therefore, Muslims consider the Islamic culture as of heavenly origin. 
So, Islam is a political, cultural and religious system. Religion, as based primarily on the Qur'an, is a part of the machine, which informs all the other areas of the Islamic system. Religious doctrine, however, is viewed in Islam as a preamble to Islamic law, the Shariah (divine law),  which is a comprehensive code governing every aspect of life, because Islam is a religion mostly oriented toward law rather than theology. 
Another important Muslim concept is the "Umma, " or "the community of submission. " Although Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, have been reciting the earliest Suras of the Qur'an starting in the. D. 610 for approximately 13 years, this is a. D. 622 that marks the start of the Muslim era, because this marks the emergence of the "Umma, " the establishment of the Muslim political- religious structure. Dr. W. Bonar Sidjabat writes: ". . . the Islam of the Qur'an is theocratic and the Muslim state was a theocracy from its first ascent to power. "
Prior into a. D. 622, Muhammad hadn't attracted many with his monotheistic message. The people of Mecca, the town of Muhammad's birth and his first decade of religious activity (which started when he was 40 years old), were not responding positively to Muhammad's message. They eventually made life so miserable for Muhammad and his few followers that they made a decision to flee to Medina, another city three hundred miles to the north, where some individuals had invited Muhammad to mediate distinctions between various tribal groups. William J. Saal writes:
That well-known event, the Hijra [emigration to Medina], gave Muhammed opportunity to gain control of Medina and eventually extend that control to the whole Arabian Peninsula and beyond.
This event is the pivotal event of Islamic history and has become the starting point of the Muslim calendar. Muslims believe God's ultimate objective was the creation of a fresh universal social order. The Hijra marks the start of this new world order, today determined with the Nation or Community of Islam, the Ummah.
There are many conditions that require further development at this time in tracing the history of Islam; the looting of Meccan caravans and subsequent battles with Meccan protectors of the caravans (Sura 2:216-218) within a. D. 624; the conquering of Mecca within a. D. 630; massacres of Jews; and military campaigns against the Christians in the north of Arabia under the leadership of Muhammad. He died in A. D. 632 ". . . but not without ordering about a month before his death another expedition to the North. " We ought to turn to your main question now and can pursue history only with regards to defining the Qur'anic view of religious tolerance.
THE UNESCO PRINCIPLES ON TOLERANCE SAY
"Consistent with respect for human rights, the practice of tolerance does not mean toleration of social injustice or the abandonment or weakening of your respective convictions. It means the particular one is absolve to stick to one's own convictions and accepts that others adhere to theirs. This means accepting the fact that humans, naturally diverse in their appearance, situation, speech, behavior and values, contain the right to stay in peace and be because they are. It also means that one's views aren't to be imposed on others. "
TOLERANCE AND ISLAM
Tolerance is a basic principle of Islam. It really is a religious moral duty. Islam teaches tolerance on all levels: individual, groups and states. Tolerance is the mechanism that upholds human rights and the rule of law. The Qur'an says very clearly:(To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies that they must follow, let them not then dispute with you on the problem, but do invite (them) to your Lord: for you are assuredly on the correct way. If they do wrangle together with you, say, 'God knows best what it is you are doing. ' 'God will judge between you on your day of Judgment regarding the matters in which you differ')
The dealings of the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be after him, with other religions can best be described in the verse of the Quran:
"To you be your religion, to me be mine. " [Al Qur'an 109:6]
The Arabian Peninsula during the time of the Prophet was an area where various faiths were present. There have been Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, polytheists, and others not affiliated with any religion. When one looks into the life of the Prophet, one may draw on many examples to portray the high level of tolerance shown to folks of other faiths, as is described by God Almighty Himself:
'O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of your male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know the other person (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who's) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted with everything. ' [Al Qur'an 49:13]
In order to understand and judge this tolerance, one must look into the period in which Islam was a formal state, with the precise laws laid down by the Prophet relative to the tenets of religion. Even though one can observe many types of tolerance shown by the Prophet in the thirteen years of his stay static in Mecca, one may mistakenly feel that it was only due to him wanting to raise the profile of the Muslims and their social status. For this reason, the discussion will be limited to the period which commenced with the migration of the Prophet to Medina, and specifically once the constitution was set.
The best exemplory case of the tolerance shown by the Prophet to other religions may be the constitution itself, called the 'Saheefah' by early historians. If the Prophet migrated to Medina, his role as a mere religious leader ended; he was now the political leader of circumstances, governed by the precepts of Islam, which demanded that clear laws of governance be laid out to ensure harmony and stability in a society which once had been distraught by decades of war, one which must be sure the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Jews, Christians and polytheists. Because of this, the Prophet laid down a 'constitution' which detailed the duties of most parties which resided in Medina, their obligations towards each other, and certain restrictions which were placed on each. All parties were to obey that which was mentioned therein, and any breach of its articles was regarded as an act of treachery.
The first article of the constitution was that all the inhabitants of Medina, the Muslims as well as those who had entered the pact from the Jews, Christian, and polytheists, were "one nation to the exclusion of most others. " All were considered members and citizens of Medina society no matter religion, race, or ancestry. Folks of other faiths were protected from harm up to the Muslims, as is explained in another article, "Towards the Jews who follow us belong help and equity. He shall not be harmed nor his enemies be aided. " Previously, each tribe had their alliances and enemies within and without Medina. The Prophet gathered these different tribes under one system of governance which upheld pacts of alliances previously around between those individual tribes. All tribes had to do something as a whole with disregard to individual alliances. Any attack on another religion or tribe was considered an attack on the state of hawaii and upon the Muslims as well.
The lives of the practitioners of other religions in Muslim society was also given protective status. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
"Whoever kills a person who has a truce with the Muslims will never smell the fragrance of Paradise. " (Sahih Muslim)
Since the upper hand was with the Muslims, the Prophet (pbuh) strictly warned against any maltreatment of individuals of other faiths. He said:
"Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on your day of Judgment. " (Abu Dawud)
In another article, it states, "the Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs. " Within this, it is clear that anything apart from tolerance would not be tolerated, and this, although all were members of any society, each had their separate religion that could not be violated. Each was allowed to practice their beliefs freely without the hindrances, and no acts of provocation would be tolerated.
There are a great many other articles of this constitution which might be discussed, but emphasis will be positioned on an article which states, "If any dispute or controversy likely to cause trouble should arise, it must be described God and His Messenger. " This clause maintained that all inhabitants of the state must recognize an increased degree of authority, and in those matters which involved various tribes and religions, justice could not be meted out by individual leaders; rather it must be adjudicated by the leader of the state of hawaii himself or his designated representatives. It had been allowed, however, for individual tribes who were not Muslims, to make reference to their own religious scriptures and their learned men when it comes to their own personal affairs. They could though, if indeed they opted, ask the Prophet to judge between them in their matters. God says in the Quran:
"If they actually come for you, either judge between them or decline to interfere" [Al Quran 5:42]
Here we see that the Prophet (pbuh) allowed each religion to guage in their own matters according to their own scriptures, so long as it did not stand towards articles of the constitution, a pact which took into consideration the greater good thing about the peaceful co-existence of society.
There are a great many other examples through the lifetime of the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, as well as the Saheefah that practically portray the tolerance Islam shows for other peoples and religions.
Given consent by the constitution, the Jews had the complete freedom to apply their religion. The Jews in Medina during the Prophet had their own school of learning, named Bait-ul-Midras, where they would recite the Torah, worship and educate themselves.
The Prophet (pbuh) emphasised in many letters to his emissaries that religious institutions shouldn't be harmed. Here in a letter addressed to his emissary to the religious leaders of Saint Catherine in Mount Sinai who may have sought the protection of the Muslims:
"This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to prospects who adopt Christianity, near and far, were with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against whatever displeases them. No compulsion is to be with them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks of their monasteries. No-one is to destroy a residence with their religion, to damage it, or even to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take these, he'd spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are simply my allies and also have my secure charter against all those things they hate. No-one is to force them to travel or even to oblige those to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a lady Christian is married to lady, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are declared to be protected. They are really neither to be prevented from mending them nor the sacredness of their covenants. Nobody of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the very last Day (end of the world). "
As you can see, this Charter consisted of several clauses covering all important areas of human rights, including such subject areas as the protection of minorities living under Islamic rule, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and keep maintaining their property, exemption from military service, and the to protection in war.
On another occasion, the Prophet (pbuh) received a delegation of sixty Christians from the spot of Najran, then a part of Yemen, at his mosque. When enough time for their prayer came, they faced the direction of east and prayed. The Prophet (pbuh) ordered that they be left in their state and not harmed.
During the life of the Prophet (pbuh), he fully co-operated with folks of other faiths in the political arena and selected a non-Muslim, Amr-ibn Umaiyah-ad-Damri, as an ambassador to be delivered to Negus, the King of Ethiopia. As today in Article 51 of the UN Charter and in exceptional circumstances Muslims were permitted to defence from attack by the Qur'an, though with an obvious criterion of restraint, justice, chivalry and strict warning against trangression. The verse below demonstrates the invioable right and need for protecting and respecting the Holy sanctury's of all people.
Permission to fight is given to those who find themselves fighting them, because they
have been wronged, and surely, Allah is Able to provide them with victory. Those people who have been expelled from other homes unjustly only because they said: "Our Lord is Allah. " - For had it not been that Allah checks one set of men and women by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, wherein the Name of God is mentioned much would surely have been pulled down and destroyed. Verily, Allah will help those who help His Cause. Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty. [Al Qur'an 22:40]
These are just a few of the types of the Prophet's tolerance of other faiths. Islam recognizes that we now have a plurality of religions on this earth, and provides the right to individuals to find the path which they believe to be true. Religion is never to be, and was never, forced after an individual against their own will, and these examples from the life span of the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be after him, are an epitome of the verse of the Quran which promotes religious tolerance and sets the guideline for the Muslims' interaction with people of other faiths. God says:
"There is not any compulsion in religion" [Al Qur'an 2:256]
We pray that individuals of most faiths and the ones of no faith can come together and join hands to get peace, harmony and common cause. Ameen
1. the dignity of the human beings,
2. the basic equality of most human beings,
3. universal human rights, and
4. fundamental freedom of thought, conscience and belief.
The Qur'an speaks about the basic dignity of all human beings. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) spoke about the equality of all human beings, irrespective of their race, color, language or ethnic background. Shari`ah recognizes the rights of all visitors to life, property, family, honor and conscience.
Islam emphasizes the establishment of equality and justice, both of these values cannot be established without some degree of tolerance. Islam recognized from the very beginning the principle of freedom of belief or freedom of religion. It said very clearly that it is not allowed to acquire any coercion in the matters of faith and belief. The Qur'an says, (There is absolutely no compulsion in religion)(Al-Baqarah 2:256).
If in the matters of religion, coercion is not permissible, then by implication one can say that in other matters of cultures and other worldly practices it is also not acceptable. InsuratAsh-Shura Allah says to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), (If they turn away, We have not sent you as a guard over them. Your duty is but to convey (the Message))(Ash-Shura 42:48). In another place Allah says, (Invite (all) to just how of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best & most gracious. Your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance)(An-Nahl 16:125).
Further, Allah says to the Believers, (Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if you do reverse, know then that it is Our Messenger's duty to proclaim (the Message) in the clearest manner)(Al-Ma'idah 5:92).
One can also cite Allah's words:(Say: 'Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger: but if you turn away, he is only responsible for the work located on him and you also for that located on you. If you obey him, you will be on right guidance. The Messenger's duty is only to preach the clear (Message))(An-Nur 24:54).
All these verses give note that Muslims do not coerce people; they must present the message to them in the most cogent and clear way, invite these to the reality and do their best in presenting and conveying the message of God to humanity, but it is up to people to accept or never to accept. Allah says, (And say, 'The simple truth is from your Lord, so whosoever wants let him believe and whosoever wants let him deny')(An-Nahl 16:29).
The question then comes: If Allah gave choice to believe or never to believe, then why did He punish the people of Prophet Nuh, the `Ad, the Thamud, the people of Prophet Lut, the people of Prophet Shu`ayb and Pharaoh and his followers? The answer is in the Qur'an itself. Those individuals were not punished simply because of their disbelief. They were punished because that they had become oppressors. They committed aggression against the righteous, and stopped others to come to the way of Allah. There have been many on the globe who denied Allah, but Allah didn't punish everyone. Ibn Taymiyyah, the outstanding Muslim scholar, said, "The states may live long in spite of their people's unbelief (kufr), but they cannot live long when their people become oppressors. "
Between family, between couple, between parents and children, between siblings etc.
Tolerance between your members of the city: tolerance in views and opinions, tolerance between themadhahib(Islamic Juristic Schools).
Tolerance between Muslims and the folks of other faiths (interfaith relations, dialogue and cooperation).
Muslims have been generally very tolerant people. We must emphasize this virtue among us and nowadays. Tolerance is needed among our communities: We must foster tolerance through deliberate policies and efforts. Our centers should be multi-ethnic. We should teach our children respect of every other. We ought to not generalize about other races and cultures. We ought to have more exchange visits and meetings with one another. Even marriages should be encouraged among Muslims of different ethnic groups.
With non-Muslims we ought to have dialogue and good relations, but we can not accept things that are contrary to our religion. We ought to inform them what's acceptable to us and what is not. With an increase of information, I am sure the respect will establish and even more cooperation will develop.
TOLERANCE ALONG WITH THE VIEW OF TRUTH
What will it mean to tolerate another's beliefs? To "tolerate" another's beliefs does not imply that one accepts them as true; however in being tolerant one respects another's right to free will to choose what things to believe. As Newman clarifies, "Tolerating a religious belief, then, does not involve a half-hearted acceptance or endurance of the belief alone, but rather it involves acceptance or endurance of someone's holding that belief, that is of a certain case of believing. "
Relativists modify this meaning of tolerance to make it more of a propositional attitude, which involves respecting another's religious beliefs as being of equal value to all or any other truth claims, even one's own convictions. If this type of thought, however, is followed to its logical conclusion, a person could wrap up holding as equally true both propositions, even if they're obviously contradictory.
Metaphysical relativism considers metaphysical constructs as valuable for the reason that they give significance to your lives; but it isn't necessary for them to correspond with something objective outside of our minds. These are basically our own constructs. The motivation for such a conclusion may be epistemological (doubting the opportunity to learn things because they are in themselves, following Kantian postulation of the categories of the mind that provide condition to reality as experienced by us) or moral (in seeking to accommodate everybody's view).
When metaphysical relativism is recognized as a foundation for tolerance, we finish up without tolerance whatsoever since it deprives the belief of any significance rendering it worth holding. Alternatively, this view also ends up being another dogmatism itself, as Newman writes: "Tolerance, after all, will not demand that one believe that almost every other person's metaphysical views are as true or as reasonable or as profound as his own. Indeed. . . tolerance can be done only because we are capable of putting up with things that we do nothing like. . . or agree with. " This condition implies: (1) using a certain belief and (2) being introduced to another person who holds beliefs with that you disagree. If we didn't have to put up with those who hold beliefs unlike ours, there would be no need for tolerance. If all believed a similar thing, namely, that religious beliefs are not to be studied seriously, but rather are to be considered merely as different keys in a piano (which might be different however, not true or false), than what is there to tolerate?
In conclusion, we can say that tolerance means exemplifying an attitude of respect or endurance toward another's views, even those you can consider false, and tolerance as a result can rightly be considered a virtue in a single who believes in absolute truth. Muslims and Christians (and others who believe in the type of truth as absolute and objective), have a real possibility to be tolerant in this sense of the term, while relativists don't.
THE WILL TO DENY THE OBVIOUS
Nevertheless, even among those who ought to know better, there is a tendency to behave like the proverbial ostrich, denying the apparent implications of the Qur'anic teaching. Daniel Pipes, who surveyed about 25 experts in religion (professors in Harvard, Georgetown, Duke University, Baylor, Rutgers, University of Wisconsin etc. ), found only four of them who considered the word "jihad" to acquire any military component whatsoever and this, he says "is quite as though historians of medieval Europe were to deny that the term "crusade" ever had martial overtones. . . [but rather the term "crusade" actually meant] 'crusade on hunger' or 'crusade against drugs. '" Additionally it is disturbing that, even in post 9/11 America, as Pipes testifies, "one who dares to dissent and utter the reality on the problem of jihad falls under enormous censure. . . We've thus reached a point where just to state an acknowledged fact about Islam earns one the status of a hostile bigot. "
The will to assume that Islam is a religion of tolerance may cause some to be convinced that it is; but in reality it doesn't make Islam a religion of tolerance. After being confronted with the reality of Islamic teaching, some still continue steadily to say: "Please tell me this isn't Islam. " Even when one correctly observes that "Islam cannot but be ruling - and ruling on its own terms, and deciding what minorities it'll allow and how, " exemplifying the ostrich mentality, the same person still hopes against hope that Muslims will choose "Meccan priority (choose to make normative the Meccan attitude of toleration), in conditions of the twenty-first century, [which]must emphasize an Islam that. . . tolerates diversity. . . " This is just other ways of saying, "please tell me this is not Islam. "
We live through the worst time for the West to confront Islam due to loss of clarity on the nature of truth. The relativistic view of truth explained earlier with regards to tolerance is prevalent in the affluent, sleepy (even if restless) western society. The openness of the West toward third world religions is not because the West is becoming more tolerant (relativism just stupefies the mind giving the illusion of tolerance), but because it is confused about its own identity; they have educated itself to be ignorant and dismissive of its heritage; it is embarrassed by colonialism and blows out of proportion the mistakes of days gone by throwing out the baby with the bath water.
It is as if the West is living the tale of the ugly duckling backwards. Westerners, for a time, thought the West was beautiful but lured by the "nonconformists" and looking at the exotic "others" they now feel like as though the West is the ugly duckling. There's a need for people like Dinesh D'Souza, who emigrated from the East to the West and can not be fooled by the hype of criticism against the West, to convincingly declare how beautiful America and the West, still are.
The West built a legacy of religious tolerance since it believed that objective truth existed; because truth mattered and because people should be absolve to pursue it. As was clarified earlier, to be able to get tolerance at all, a view of truth as objective and an attitude of respect for humans (who are endowed by the Creator with dignity and rights that involve the exercise of the free will), is vital. This view of tolerance is part of the glorious legacy the West has bestowed after the entire world. Therefore, it is tragic that one may be considered a bigot today in the West because one believes that another view can be wrong. America and the world have an chance to overcome this untenable relativistic stance even as we face the ugliness of ideologies which result in events such as September 11th 2001.
If, as I have come to conclude, it is true that the Qur'an finally does not teach tolerance but instead intolerance toward other religions in the society it seeks to dominate, I am afraid that there surely is nothing we can do about any of it; we cannot change the Qur'an. This won't preclude on the other hand sympathizing with Muslims and seeking to understand where they result from so we may responsibly address the issues of concern.  They can be fellow humans, much more much like us than different. Not every Muslim believes what the unavoidable Islam may suggest, and Muslims can and also have changed or converted to another worldview. I am one among unnumbered Christians who come from a Muslim tradition.
Given this content of the Qur'an and the unquestioned stick it has in Muslim religion and system, one does not observe how the Qur'anic Islam - the unavoidable Islam can possibly change but an alteration in its adherents is another matter. Therefore, we ought to not get tired of upholding the reality, exposing falsehood, showing the consequences of certain views, seeking to win everyone to the reality, and being ready to stand our ground when the evil hour comes, as people who have hope.