The Qur'an declares, "There is no compulsion in religion" (2:256), thus, no one can be forced to become a Muslim.
While it is true that in many places where Muslim armies went to liberate people or the land, they did carry the sword as that was the weapon used at that time.
However, Islam did not spread by the sword because in many places where there are Muslims now, in the Far East like Indonesia, China and many parts of Africa, there are no records of any Muslim armies going there. For instance, instance Muslims ruled India for over 1,000 years and yet on 15% of Indians are Muslims. If the 'sword' had been used, the statistics would have been otherwise.
Despite 1,400 years Muslim presence in the Arab world, some 10% of all Arabs are Christians.
In the U.S., Islam is the fastest growing religion and, according to a 2001 study, it has 7 million followers obviously without any sword around.
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