First of all, we’d like to clarify that everyone who disbelieves in Islam is a kafir or disbeliever. In the same parallel, anyone who disbelieves in Christianity is a kafir or disbeliever in Christianity. Yet, describing non-Muslims in the Qur’an in no way permits any Muslim to kill an innocent non-Muslim or to demolish non-Muslim places of worship. On the contrary, the Qur’an urges Muslims to deal kindly and justly with all people.
Sheikh Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti, Director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas, states: “Ibn Taymiyah is a Muslim scholar who lived during the time of Crusades and the Mongol invasions of the Islamic land, and saw the destructive effect of these invasions on Muslim societies. That is why he developed a very rigid view on the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, as I explained in a recent article published on Aljazeera Channel website. However, Ibn Taymiyah’s view on this issue does reflect the normative rule held by the majority of Muslim scholars before and after his time, and the man needs to be understood within the context of his time. The Holy Qur’an is explicit that houses of worship, especially those owned by Jews and Christians must be protected by the Islamic authority, and must be respected by Muslims at large. To know how serious Muslims were about this Qur’anic order, it is enough to know that the eldest Christian sites on earth are still protected in Muslim lands. Examples of these sites are the Church of the Holy Sepulture in Palestine and Saint Catherine monastery in Egypt . Al-Imad Al-Asfahani, the personal secretary of Salah Al-Din (Saladin), reports in his book Al-Fath Al-Qussi, that some Muslims suggested that the Church of the Holy Sepulture in Palestine should be destroyed when Jerusalem was liberated from the Crusaders, But Saladin objected arguing that when the early Muslims conquered the city twelve centuries earlier they respected and preserved the Church.”