Egyptian cleric Mahmoud al-Masri tells the story of a nice Muslim man who did his Jewish neighbor a favor: he tricked him into converting to Islam and then told him “if you leave the faith, we’ll kill you.”
And he said it all with a smile:
My dear brothers, we want to repent, and we want to take by the hand those people who have not yet repented. We should feel pity for them. By Allah, we should not be tough with them. These people are sick. They are sinners. We should feel pity for them, we should care for them. We should act like doctors who care for the sick. You should care for them and feel great pity for them, and seek any ingenious way to make a person repent.
I’d like to tell you a very nice story. Once there was a Muslim who lived next to a Jew. The Muslim saw in the Jew a measure of goodheartedness – however small – and he wanted to find any way to make him convert to Islam. So he went to him and asked: “Don’t you feel the need for Islam? Why don’t you become a Muslim?” The Jew said: “The only thing preventing me from becoming a Muslim is that I love drinking alcohol. I would have become a Muslim ages ago, but the only thing stopping me is that I am an alcoholic.”
The Muslim devised a plan. He said: “No problem – become a Muslim, and continue to drink.” The Muslim didn’t meant this, of course, but he said to him: “Become a Muslim, and continue to drink.” The Jews said: “Fine.” He said: “I proclaim that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The Muslim said to him: “Now you have become a Muslim. If you drink alcohol, we will carry out the punishment for drinking alcohol on you, and if you renounce Islam, we will kill you.” So the man remained a Muslim and never drank alcohol again. This was a nice trick by this good Muslim.
For video of Smiling Mahmoud explaining the Islamic version of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, visit MEMRI.