Islam commands Muslims to be tolerant while defending and demanding their rights. Muslims are prohibited to force people out of their faith and religion Allah says in Surat Albaqara verse 256 " There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing". Therefore, Muslims who truly follow the book of Allah and path of his prophet Mohamed صلى الله عليه وسلم would never force anyone out his/her religion or persecute anyone because of their religion.
Let us take few examples to explain this matter.
1. People of Makka persecuted and tortured the followers of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and took their land, homes, and wealth. When the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and his companions conquered Makka and took control of it, he told it's inhabitants "go you are free". Even Makkans were not expecting this forgiveness and kind treatment.
2. The city of Da'if was a place where the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم tried to preach and propagate Islam but he was met with harsh treatment where they lined children on the sides of the road to throw rocks and stones on the prophet until the blood gushing from his head soaked his shoes. Angel Jibril with the angel of the mountains came to the prophet telling him that he was commanded by Allah to be under the service of the prophet if he wants to command him to crash the two huge mountains on the city of Da'if. The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم , the most tolerant man ever lived said " no I am expecting a day would come when their off-springs would worship only Allah). This is not the only time he prayed for the people of Da'if but also, when he came to conquer the city and it became difficult for him and his companions to do so, the companions asked him to curse Da'if but the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said " O Allah guide Thaqif (the tribe that lived in Da'if) and bring them to us". So, his prayer was answered and people of Da'if accepted Islam willingly.
3. Another personal example of tolerance in Islam is when Prophet Mohamed's honorable wife (Aisha) was slandered and worst rumors were spread by the Munafiqin (hypocrites) in Madina trying to tarnish his image and that of his wives. This was orchestrated by the head of the Munafiqin Abdullahi Ibn Ubayyi Ibn Salul who never believed in Islam although,he claimed to be a Muslim. The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم could have retaliated against him and against those other hypocrites but he did not do that, sighting that he would never harm his followers even if they were enemy inside.
4. Another outstanding example is the story of martyrdom of Umar Ibnul-Khadab the second khalifa of the prophet and the leader of the believers. Umar was against the idea of bringing non Muslims to the city of Madina even as slaves but some other Sahaba like Abbas and his son Ibn Abbas did hold a different idea and were bringing such people to Madina. Umar was later stabbed by one of those slaves who was a highly experienced blacksmith from Persia. His name was Abu Lu'Lu' and he killed seven more Sahabi that fateful morning while Umar was leading the believers in Fajar (dawn) prayer at the Masjid of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم
Umar was still alive but severely injured. Ibn Abbas came to him while Umar was being treated at his home then Umar said to him "you and your father always wanted to bring these Uluj (non Muslims ) into Madina then Ibn Abbas said "if you command we will kill them now". Umar replied "you are wrong, you will kill them after they spoke your language ?.....). Meaning that will never happen and he will never permit it.
Umar did not command his followers to kill the immigrants and the non Arabs in Madina although one of them perpetrated and premeditated the assassination and the murder of the ruler of More 30 counties in today's world.
Think about if there was an attempt on the life of one of the leaders of the western world by an immigrant and let say a Muslim what would have happened to the Muslim community in the said country? I leave the answer for the reader.
Muslims had minorities through centuries living among them in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, etc. those minorities are of different ethnicities and faiths. Compare that to Europe which was almost exclusively Christian before 19th century with few pockets of Jewish minorities who were prosecuted, massacred, and or expelled time and again. Also, the history registered the European atrocities in the name of religion like the crusaders who killed more than million people in Qudus, the Spanish Inquisition who prosecuted Muslims and Jews in Spain, the brutal, and inhumane colonization of Muslim majority Africa and Asia, the massacre in Srebrenica Bosnia 1995, the on going slaughter and massacre in Central Africa, the list goes on and on.
So who is tolerant and who is intolerant?
There is no guarantee in the western world that the Muslims and other minorities would be tolerated if geopolitical climate changes or if,Allah forbid, another disaster of a greater magnitude occurs. We all remember the situation of the Japanese society in the United States in WWII where they were put in concentration camps by the United States government in the pretext that they were loyal to their ancestral land Japan. Even the Supreme Court at the time ruled in favor of the executive order by then president of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt to put the whole Japanese community in concentration camps "as war time necessity".
Sheikh Yusuf Abdulle
IMAM of Boston Islamic Center- Masjid Altaqwa