The motive of Abraham (sws) in bashing the idols is
the real barometer to judge whether Islam tolerates other religions or not. If
his motive were that during his preaching phase he would forcibly stop his
people from idol worship come what may -- then this would amount to intolerance.
If this was not the motive, then of course it would be otherwise.
So, the bashing of the idols by
Abraham (sws) must be understood in the correct Qur’ānic perspective. If we
reflect on the various Qur’ānic verses that mention this episode, it becomes
clear that the bashing was no bashing in the real sense. It was only meant to
convince his people that the idols they were worshipping could not even defend
themselves, and therefore could not save those who were worshipping them. So
effective was this scheme that we come to know from the Qur’ān (21:64-5) that
the people even realized their folly. However, as the later verses show they did
not pay heed to this realization and decided to punish Abraham (sws) by throwing
him into fire.