What are we to make of the violent teaching found in the Qur’an in the light of the oft-quoted Surah 2:256, “There is no compulsion in religion’?
As has been mentioned, we must ask whether this verse is considered mansukh (abrogated). But, even if that is denied by some Muslim apologists, the context of the verse shows that it does not promise freedom to non-Muslims, but only a measure of tolerance for a time. The following verse reads, “Allah is the Protector of those who have faith” and begs the question concerning how to treat those who reject Allah. Since they don’t have Allah’s protection, it is argued that these unbelievers do not deserve protection from Islam.
The problem with finding and promoting moderation within Islam is that the most “natural’ reading of Islamic texts, as well as much influential historical interpretation of these, provides fuel for the radicals.