Yes. The Qur'an states unequivocally:
"There is no compulsion in
religion." (Qur'an 2:256)
Protection of the rights of Non-Muslims to worship is an intrinsic part
of Islamic law. It is also stated in the Qur'an: "God does not forbid
you, with regard to those who do not fight you for (your) faith nor drive
you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God
loves those who are just." (Qur'an 60:8)
Islamic law also permits Non-Muslims to set up their own courts and
implement family and personal laws administered by their chosen religious
The Muslim who understands his religion is tolerant in his dealings with people, because he knows that there is nothing like tolerance for the good man in this world and the next. His tolerant, gentle, easy going attitude opens the way to people's hearts, and endears him to them, and it also earns him Allah's pleasure, forgiveness and mercy. This is what is stated clearly in the teachings of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam).
Jabir (radhiallahu `anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:
"May Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala) have mercy on the tolerant man, when he buys, when he sells, and when he demands payment." (Hadith - Bukhari)
Abu Mas'ud al-Ansari said: "The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: 'A man from those who were before you was brought to account and no goodness was found in him, except that he was a man who used to mix with people; he was rich, and he used to order his employees to let off the one who was in difficulty. Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala) said: "We should be even more tolerant than him, so let him off.'" (Hadith - Muslim)
Muslims had ruled India for over 800 years, people lived in harmony and peace then. The Muslim rulers never thought of converting India into an Islamic nation. As a matter of fact, Muslim rulers respected other religions.
It is painful to see hundreds of people get killed in communal riots every year in our country. Communal riots are handiworks of fanatics that exist in all communities. Let us not be led astray by those fanatics.
To my fellow muslims, I have a few suggestions.
Be a good muslim - imbibing the strong character that Islam has given us. Respect all our non-muslim brothers - be it Hindus, Christians etc. Be on guard on against traffic makers - within the community and outside.