Dr. Ali S. Awadh Asseri
(Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon)
Islam believes in diversity of religions. It actually took birth in the context of Judaism and Christianity being the prevailing religions of the time. Islam shows a special respect towards Judaism and Christianity because of the common faith heritage. Islam expects the followers of these religions to live an upright life as the wish of the Creator. The practical manifestation of Islam’s conduct vis-à-vis the Jews and Christians, the other two peoples of the holy books and adherents of Abrahamic religions, is clear from the way the Muslim rulers and people dealt with them throughout the Golden Age of Muslims, which started in the eighth century and continued for several centuries. In Baghdad under the Abbasids and in Andalusia under successive Muslim rulers, Christians and Jews not only shared unprecedented levels of prosperity with fellow Muslims, but they also equally contributed to the growth of Islamic scientific and artistic revolution characterizing the Golden Age of Islam.
This happened because the holy Qur’an commands Muslims to be extremely tolerant of their Jewish and Christian counterparts in religion. The holy Qur’an teaches: ‘And those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians – and who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord.’
The holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) gave priority to seeking reconciliation and peace with Christians and Jews as well as with other opponents and enemies. The holy Qur’an strictly forbid the committing of any terrorist activity that may endanger peoples’ lives, be they Muslim or non-Muslim. These crimes are described in the holy Qur’an as ‘the Great Sin’.
 The holy Qur’an, Surah 2, Verse 148; Surah 22, Verse 67.