Dr. Eboo Patel tells the following story in one of the podcasts from the Progressive Religious Voices series:
I was in Australia six or eight months ago at an interfaith conference, and they had lined up this very angry Christian preacher and this very imposing looking Muslim imam in this kind of typical duke-it-out kind of thing that drives me berserk. And the Christian started off, and he just said slanderous, horrible, prejudicial things about Islam. About how the prophet, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, you know, was a murderer and all, things that are very very difficult to hear. How the Koran is a book of death, and how Muslims have done nothing but pillaged and raped throughout their whole history. And, you know, I run an interfaith organization, and I found myself, like whispering underneath my breath, to the Muslim imam, you know, as I was sitting in the audience, "Tell about all the violence that Christianity has done!" And the Muslim imam listens to all of this very calmly. And when the man is done, this Christian turns to the imam, the imam says, "I love Jesus. And I love the Bible. And do not expect me to say negative things about your religion only because you have said negative things about mine. Because there is too much love and mercy in my heart to do that."
And I though to myself, not only is that as beautiful a thing as I've ever seen in my life, but it's such a smart strategy. Why am I going to respond to your bigoted remarks by bigoted remarks of my own? My hope is to articulate what I love about your tradition and to teach you what you might love about mine, and to point to a space where we might work together to serve others.