I have heard a Hadith meaning to the effect that ‘if there is alcohol on the table one should not join that meal’
In this case no Muslim can interact with any non-Muslim. Please explain.
In trying to appreciate a hadith (narrative) one must try to understand the overall concept. One of the ways to go about this is to comprehend the import of the hadith. Let us consider the one you have referred:
Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day must not sit at table at which khamr is consumed. – Ahmad & Tirmidhi
If you ponder over the hadith you will realize that has nothing to do with the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims. You posit things that are not implied in the hadith. For instance, your statement assumes that every non-Muslim drinks alcohol, which is untrue. It also, indirectly, implies that there are no Muslims that drink alcohol, which is also untrue. The fact is that this hadith is related to staying away from any and all negative elements. One must purify their mind, heart and soul and in doing so comes the responsibility of keeping one’s self away from any unfavorable situations. Indecency, immorality, wickedness etc… are all elements we should keep ourselves from. The state of drunkenness may promote any or all of these attributes in a person and it would be beneficial for us not to get caught up in such a situation. Our struggle is to maintain the “self” in constant alliance with the Divine will. Through prayer and good deeds and efforts in maintaining ourselves in positive environments we can achieve the purification we seek.
Another minor detail is the fact that it is not that alcohol is on the table, but instead, the consumption that carries a far greater significance in this issue. You would appreciate that alcohol is a harmless liquid if merely sitting on a table untouched versus being consumed. This does not condone being around it; rather, it is to make you realize that the overall concept of the hadith was misunderstood and even the wording had been changed (even if it was only in your mind) enough to make it a potential problem. Thus, the potential hazard is being around the person who is consuming it, rather than it merely being on the table.
Our interactions and companionships should be based on our wisdom and observations. We should choose our friends on the merit of what we desire in friends. Muslims and non-Muslims, we are all humans. There are good and bad in every group of people. Therefore, if you stick with those who are good you are more likely to be better off than to be with people who go by titles but do not live up to them.
I hope I have clarified the issue.
God knows best.