Nothing is further from the truth.
It was the Islamic traders who served as excellent role models in the spread of Islam. In the book: "Islam at crossroads", De lacy O'leary, on page 8, says that this belief is a myth.
Look at the number of Coptic Christians in Egypt. They number 14 million. Couldn't the Arabs have wiped them out or forcefully converted them to Islam?
Look at India. In the 1,000 years that the Muslims ruled over this subcontinent, every one could have been forcefully converted to Islam. How can you explain that there are 800 million Hindus and others still in India?
When the Muslims were in power in Spain was there someone forcing them to convert? In fact there the Jews welcomed the Muslims to Spain and they would flourish because of it.
Which Muslim army went to Indonesia and Malaysia to convert them? These people converted by seeing the good behaviors of the Muslim/Arab traders.
Readers' Digest says that between 1944 and 1984, a period of 50 years, saw more conversion to Islam in Europe and USA than to any faith. I am asking you, who went with a sword to convert these people to Islam? It is the sword of the intellect that converts people?
It took Syria 500 years for the Muslims to reach 50% and Egypt 600 years.
Five facts about the spread of Islam:
1- Indonesia has the world largest Muslim population. Islam didn't arrive there by war, but by intermingling with Muslim merchants.
2- Intermingling with Muslim merchants spread Islam in most of the current African Muslim countries, & communities.
3- Muslims fought some holy wars against Christians, but it all began when a Christian governor in Byzantium murdered the members of delegate Muhammad sent.
4- Muslims had also fought a holy war against Arabs, but that only came after years of persecution against Muslims. & After that the Arabs of Mecca forced their Muslim population out, seized their properties, & attempted to assassinate their prophet Muhammad.
5- The largest rate of converting to Islam in Arabia was during the years of the peace treaty between Muslims & the pagans of Mecca.
These lies are spread by people who spread their religion like that but Islam is different. Islam conquered hearts.