I will provide links to fatwas that interpret the verse and leave it for readers to discuss, as well as provide my own opinion on the matter.
All I ask is that we refrain from personal attacks in the comments and try to treat others in a kind manner, even when we disagree.
This is the verse in question:
Surah Al-Mai'dah, 51 Yusuf Ali translation:
O' You who believe, take not the Jews and Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is one of them. Verily Allah guides not a people unjust.
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَتَّخِذُواْ ٱلۡيَہُودَ وَٱلنَّصَـٰرَىٰٓ أَوۡلِيَآءَۘ بَعۡضُہُمۡ أَوۡلِيَآءُ بَعۡضٍ۬ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمۡ فَإِنَّهُ ۥ مِنۡہُمۡۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَهۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
Here are a fatwa on the subject from supposedly reliable Islamic sources.
I think that their response is absolutely hideous.
Excerpt from an Islam QA.com fatwa on the subject:
"I have questions about Islam; can you explain them to me? Is it permissible for a Muslim to be a sincere friend to a person who is not Muslim?.
Praise be to Allaah.
It is not permissible for a Muslim to make friends with a mushrik or to take him as a close friend, because Islam calls on us to forsake the kaafirs and to disavow them, because they worship someone other than Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Take not as friends the people who incurred the Wrath of Allaah (i.e. the Jews). Surely, they have despaired of (receiving any good in) the Hereafter, just as the disbelievers have despaired of those (buried) in graves (that they will not be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection)”
This was also the teaching of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
1 – It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, “Do not keep company with anyone but a believer and do not let anyone eat your food but one who is pious.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2395; Abu Dawood, 4832. Abu ‘Eesa al-Tirmidhi said: this hadeeth is hasan. It was also classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2519)".
What? So why then does the Quran in other places state,
There is no compulsion in religion...2:256
To you be your way, and to me mine 109:6
Those who believe (in the Quran). Those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians, -any who believe in Allah and the last day, and work righteousness, on them shall be no fear, neither shall they grieve. 5:69.
I read this other verse on the topic and can only think of the words from the Gospel that teach the exact opposite:
O' you who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors),- offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the truth that has come to you.. . Al MumtaHinah 60:1a
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be the sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. Matthew 5:44-45
So where does this leave us?
For me personally, I believe that loving one's enemies is a much higher calling of philosophical jihad (if one wants to use that term), because it is more difficult to forgive rather than retaliate.
I will continue to love all regardless of faith or lack thereof, because I believe we are all created in the image of God.
I will be looking forward to everyone's opinions on this subject.