Historically, however, Islam, like all other religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism, has shown both tolerance and intolerance towards other religions and communities. History provides us with many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths. For more than a century during the Middle ages, for instance, Cordoba (in Spanish Andalusia) witnessed a great flowering of religious freedom, which, while not perfect, was tolerant enough to accommodate many Jewish and Christian intellectuals, who lived and wrote and flourished side-by-side with their Muslim counterparts in a strikingly pluralistic society.
The cultural legacy of Cordoba is impressive in its scale and splendour and remains a successful model of associative reconciliation and nonviolent cross-cultural learning that we see being put into action during the Moghul period in India and later by Muslims who collaborated with Mohandas Gandhi in the Indian Independence movement.
Through his “soft reading” of the Hindu scriptures, but also the texts of Christianity and Islam, Gandhi found a clarion call for active nonviolence in all these religions. As such, he thought whether one is a Christian, Jew or Muslim, faith can only push a person to promote peace and nonviolent social change. For him, the basic principles of religions were not just pious ideals, but actual laws of action in the world. Maybe this is why Gandhi challenged fervent believers of different religions to seek God through their own active pursuit of truth and nonviolence, instead of being literalist interpreters of the Hindu, Muslim or Christian scriptures.