But it is a sign of the times that the most extreme interpretation of the Quran appeals to Muslim masses these days, and that far too many clerics are attacking Christians and Jews and delivering fire-and-brimstone sermons full of the imagery of war martyrdom. This is contrary to the message of the Quran -"Do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation other than in the most kindly manner (29:46)" - and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad: "Do not consider me better than Moses," and, "I am closest of all people to Jesus, son of Mary."
For all the emphasis that today's clerics put on the Prophet's war record, he spent a total of less than a week in actual battle in the twenty-three years of his Prophethood. He advised his followers to "be moderate in religious matters, for excess caused the destruction of earlier communities." A moderate himself, he smiled often, spoke softly and delivered brief sermons.
"The Prophet disliked ranting and raving," wrote Imam Bukhari, the ninth-century Islamic scholar of the Prophet's sayings. Ayesha, the Prophet's wife, reported that "he spoke so few words that you could count them." His most famous speech during the Hajj pilgrimage in AD 632, which laid down an entire covenant, was less than 2,800 words.
Muhammd was respectful of Christians and Jews. Hearing the news that the king of Ethiopia had died, he told his followers, "A righteous man has died today; so stand up and pray for your brother." When a Christian delegation came to Medina, he invited them to conduct their service in the mosque, saying, "This is a place consecrated to God." When Safiyyah, one of his wives, complained that she was taunted for her Jewish origins, he told her, "Say unto them, 'my father is Aaron, and my uncle is Moses.'"
"Being Muslim" - Haroon Siddiqui, pp. 33-34