According to some historians less ideologically uptight than it is now.
Al-Andalus was "Everyone welcome - Conversion encouraged - Dhimmis are OK, just pay your seperate (and higher) taxes." By our standards now, it's discrimination, but back then, it was much more progressists and free than Isabella the Catholic of Spain "KILL'EM ALL !!!!" at jews and muslims who didn't leave reconquered (or freed) Spain or convert "honestly" to catholicism (even sent the Inquisition to investigate groups of jews that were suspected of "fake conversion")
Damn, even her husband the king was to allow muslims and jews to stay, but she had a power trip while he was on some trip and he couldn't rescind her directives or no mo' hanky-panky... (or she'd stab him in the back, dunno...)
Cool TV emission on European Queens on french TV every tuesday !
came to the scene, Arabic culture was between 9th and 12th century one of the most developed and most progressive in the known world. Of course, there were other factors such as Crusades or Golden Horde invasions which also brought destruction of many libraries and madrassas.
Here is thing, If a person does not obey Islamic laws then that is between him and Allah, he and only he will be responsible for it in the eyes of Allah, not you, not me nor any oversmart imams, so why punish him for it. If he has committed a sin against Allah, then Allah will see to his punishment in the after life, its simply no ones else's business!
If you were the Calipha and your interpretation was law, I'm sure Islam and the Islamic would would be a much nicer and happier place