Dr. Ali S. Awadh Asseri
(Former Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon)
Karen Armstrong, the world-renowned scholar of comperative religions, describes the Qur’an as the most pluralist scripture, as it recognizes all the prophets that came before Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). Given that, Islam has a lot to offer to the people of other religious traditions, especially Judaism and Christianity. They need to understand that the real spirit of Islam revolves around the idea of compassion:
In Islam, Muslims have looked for God in history. Their sacred scripture, the Qur’an, gave them a historical mission. Their chief duty was to create a just community in which all members, even the most weak and vulnerable, were treated with absolute respect. The experience of building such a society and living in it would give them intimations of the divine, because they would be living in accordance with God’s will.
The Qur’an, Karen argues,
Forbids aggressive warfare and permits war only in self-defence. The moment the enemy sues for peace, the Qur’an insists that Muslims must lay down their arms and accept whatever terms are offered, even if they are disadvantageous. Later, Shariah forbade Muslims to attack a country where Muslims were permitted to practice their faith freely; the killing of civilian was prohibited, as were the destruction of property and the use of fire in warfare.
 Ishtiaq Ahmed, ‘Karen Armstrong on Islamic Legacy of Compassion,’ Weekly Pulse, 8-14 February 2008