History clearly shows that Islam is tolerant of other faiths in the same way that moviegoers tolerate a screaming baby: with scarcely concealed hostility. Muslims barely tolerate Jews and Christians, the Peoples of the Book, placing legal and societal barriers in front of them to the point where the only way to survive is to convert to Islam, a conversion that once made cannot be undone, since Islam holds that apostasy is a capital crime, even if one’s conversion was purely cosmetic in the first place. For non-monotheists the choice is simple: convert or else. The Taliban's destruction of the Buddhas in Afghanistan was not an accident or a fluke of some kind; it was simply the expression of a pre-existing religious loathing. I also wonder if those people in this country who proclaim Islam’s tolerance of other faiths realize how badly this statement makes Islam look. In the United States, Islam is not tolerated; the practice of any religious faith, short of those requiring the ritual sacrifice of buxom blond virgins, assuming such a rara avis still exists, is an inalienable human right, given to us by our Creator, and the government can no more tolerate the existence of Islam than it can tolerate the fact that the sky is blue.
The same is not true in Muslim countries. Religious toleration in an Islamic society is simply a convenient steppingstone to the inevitable conversion of the unbeliever, whose current faith is of no consequence and therefore merits no respect. Islam does not mean peace; it means submission to the will of God, as that will is made plain in the Qu’ran and in the Hadith of the Prophet, and those who will not submit must pay the price in second class status and special taxes until they see the light, and part of the proper role of Islamic government is to facilitate the inevitable conversion of the unbeliever by all possible means. George Washington’s dictum of to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, would be meaningless in an Islamic society, where conversion to Islam, no matter how it is achieved, is a moral good in and of itself. Much is made of the Golden Age of Spain under the Moors, where Muslims and Jews lived together in peace and harmony before the arrival of those nasty Christians, but that Golden Age was a thousand years ago, and I have to wonder how come the same people who point to that society as a model of toleration and peaceful religious harmony have no end of trouble finding a Muslim society that lives up to that ideal nowadays. The fact that they can’t is because there is no such society anywhere in the Muslim world today, largely because no Muslim society tolerates such an ideal now. If you think this untrue, then let me ask you to do something: count the number of Christian churches in Saudi Arabia. There's your answer.