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My Take: Muslims should stop apologizing for 9/11
Muslims praying last month in Los Angeles, California, at the end of Ramadan.
September 7th, 2011
12:11 PM ET

My Take: Muslims should stop apologizing for 9/11

Editor’s note: Aman Ali is a New York-based writer, stand-up comedian and the co-creator of 30 Mosques in 30 Days, a Ramadan road trip across America.

By Aman Ali, Special to CNN

New York (CNN) – As a Muslim, I’m sick of people asking me how I feel about 9/11. What do you want me to say, seriously?

Do you want me to say, “It was a great plan, mwahahaha!” before I fly off on a magic carpet?

I was born and raised in this country and was just as shocked as everyone else to learn there were people on this earth so vile as to commit such a horrific attack - or to even think about doing it.

But I didn’t do it. Neither did 99.999999999 percent of the roughly 1.5 billion people in the world who also call themselves Muslims. So why should I or any other Muslim apologize for what happened?

Nickleback is planning on releasing another album. Should I ask white people to apologize for that?

Just like Christianity and Judaism, Islam unequivocally condemns terrorism. Don’t take it from me, though. Grab a copy of the Quran from a library and find out for yourself.

Don’t rely on some cherry-picked crackpot interpretation of the Muslim holy book that you read on some Islamophobic hack’s poorly designed website. Speaking of which, Islamophobes need to put down the Quran and pick up a book on HTML programming and Flash.

When 9/11 happened, I can understand why the average person would want to know what Muslims actually believe. After all, the terrorists claimed they were acting in the name of Islam.

That’s why hundreds of Islamic organizations around the globe condemned the attacks and told the truth about how Islam doesn’t condone terrorism whatsoever.

But that was 10 years ago. Why are mainstream American Islamic groups like the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council still condemning the attacks and just about any other act of terrorism that pops up in the news?

Weren’t we clear before how we feel about terrorism? If people didn’t understand us for the past 10 years, what makes Muslims think they’re going to understand us now?

If I have to explain 10 times to my little brother how to operate the toaster in my apartment, that’s not my fault because of inadequate messaging. It’s my brother’s fault that he’s dumb.

It’s ridiculous for Muslims to continuously condemn and apologize for stuff when every religion has their fair share of crazies.

Imagine you’re in the habit of partying with a group of friends. And every party you go to, there's a friend in your crew that spills grape juice on the carpet - the really awesome kind of grape juice that’s in the fancy wine bottles (we Muslims don’t drink alcohol but we still can party like ballers).

How would you feel if people stopped inviting you to their parties because your one friend kept spilling grape juice? That's how I feel. I'm really annoyed I have to keep apologizing or condemning Muslim extremists that keep spilling their grape juice of hate on the world.

Dictionary.com defines the word apologize as “to offer an apology or excuse for some fault insult, failure, or injury.”

When 9/11 happened, I was 16 years old and playing Tetris during English class on my TI-83 calculator. I’ll apologize for not paying attention to Mrs. Fulton’s lecture at my high school in Gahanna, Ohio, but that’s about it.

Just because people hundreds of miles away claimed they were Muslim and committed a terrible act doesn’t mean I should apologize for it.

Mike Tyson started sucking really bad in the boxing ring after he converted to Islam. Should I apologize for that? Oh, and I think I saw a few Muslim-sounding names in the production credits for the movie “Green Lantern.” I guess I should apologize for that, too.

I’m not trying to be insensitive about 9/11. Of course my prayers and sentiments are with anyone affected by the tragedy. The same goes for any act of terrorism.

But I’m not going to apologize or condemn them because I don’t need to prove my patriotism with some kind of McCarthyite litmus test. The Pew Research Center released a study last week that found that Muslim Americans are far more pleased with how things are going in the United States (56%) than is the general public (23%).

That finding is not going to provoke me to question the general public’s patriotism. But please stop questioning ours.

The 9/11 attacks were a terrible tragedy that changed all of our lives. There’s no way we can ever forget what happened.

But what we Muslims can do is advance the conversation, rather than repeating the same old condemnations. Condemnations and apologies are like an out of style fashion trend, the parachute pants and neon hair scrunchies of civil discourse.

What Muslims need is an extreme makeover. Now that’s some extremism I can get behind.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Aman Ali.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Islam • Opinion

soundoff (2,556 Responses)
  1. ghias arsalan

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    November 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
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    November 3, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  3. mohammed ghias arsalan

    chief of the army staff – pakistan army – 0332-6813389

    March 11, 2013 at 3:19 am |
  4. jhfjhfgvhkgvj

    when did they ever start apologizing? Last I saw they were dancing in the streets!

    July 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  5. yawn_with_me

    What if right now, today, all muslims everywhere were accorded the same rights as the Koran accords to non-muslims?

    oh the howling and backlash! oh the injustice!

    February 19, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Travis

      Aman.......For centuries the middle east has been killing each other because of land, religion and so on. Nobody says for you or any other Muslim to apologize. But anyone that watches the news can very well see how those people live and how violent they are. I guess Muslims got tired of fighting their own people and the neighboring countries that they had to bring it to the USA. Just STOP trying to make something so horrible seem right. If you say awwwwwwwwwww ... the Muslims are of piece and love.... WHY??????? the hell were they dancing and laughing even in the USA on Sept 11th on the news. GIVE ME A BREAK. All you Muslims can try to justify individual Muslims all you want. But I have news for you.... It's just like saying a certain group of KKK members did something horrible and only that group is responsible for it but not the whole religious group. MY ASS!!! KKK is just like Muslims they believe one way and everybody else is beneath them. If you don't like what the People of the United States have to say about the Islamic people, then why don't all of you pack up and go back to your country. There are no other religions in America except Muslims and the KKK that teach they are above other religions and whatever it takes you guys will have your way.

      March 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  6. Genae

    I do not care if someone believes or not. To tell you the truth, it does not matter to me. I believe in God, but that's it. I have muslim, jewish and christian people in my family and I am black and may have other races in my family tree as well. I am just so tired of seeing man against woman, young against old, black against white, christian against muslim against hindu against jews against...Just stop already! I love everyone on this world, even the people who shun and treat me as if I am the dirt beneath their feet. We are all here and we just have to get use to each other. I cry sometimes when I watch the news and see the hatred and the sickness that people have in their hearts. Let go of the past and get over selfish and hypocritical ideals. I may not be perfect, but I got enough sense to know everyone has a heart and can be hurt. So stop the foolishness.

    February 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • AmeriLinguistics

      100% agree!

      February 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • josh

      @ Travis
      Its time you took a long hard look at Christianity and All the fighting that has occurred. The crusades, The Inquisition, the Protestants in Ireland and England. Christianity is not the peace-loving religion it is made out to be. Muslim and Christianity are two sides of the same coin. If you accepted Allah as your god and the Muslims God as theirs, then I am sure there would be no difference between the two religions.

      March 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  7. Justin

    I think he could have stopped after the fourth paragraph. After a while, the article is whiny and Ali drones on and on. People are stupid and people forgive (supposedly), but they don't forget.

    January 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  8. Bobs Friend

    I did what you said.. I read the Koran.. and a Biography of Muhammed..shortly after 911. You probably don't realize that reading the Koran as a Christian can be a hair raising experience.
    We are clearly second class citizens in a Muslims eyes. Over and over again there are passages that justify mistreatment and even killing of Christians. All over Africa Muslims are murdering Christians and burning down churches, and they do it in obedience to their Scriptures. This is not "A few crazies" This is everywhere Islam exists with the exception of Modern Western Democracies.
    I understand, if you are a peaceful Muslim you may be tired of crazy Muslim killers making you look guilty. But from what I read in the Koran, you are an apostate. Who can deny that Muhammed was a man of war and bloodshed?
    Muslims are killing people everyday:
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

    But Jesus said "Love your enemies, and bless those who persecute you"

    January 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • pureness

      First of all, i dont know what "Quran" you read but IT DOES NOT SAY TO KILL Christians whats so ever. We believe that Christians are good. I read the Quran about seven times and I am an American-Muslim!! Yes i do agree what the terrorist did was WRONG and SINFUL. I do pray that they go to hell and they will because in the Quran violence is against our religion. You can not judge us just because you read the wrong thing. AND OUR GOD is not torturing. WHOEVER Fu**en said that should get a reality check. I went to a catholic school and i really respect the beliefs Christians/ Catholics have. Yes there is a few differences. But we do not believe in killing and mistreating anyone. Yes it does say to have self-defense. And another thing Muslims are not known to be terrorist. FYI in America the Ku Klux Klan are known to be a group of terrorists. They ruined many lives by thinking that they are so called to be "PERFECT". So how the hell are Muslims known to be terrorists. Seriously people here that are so ignorant really need to think about what they are saying. Extremely judgmental and disrespecting.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Jack Moya

      What about the stuff done in Uganda and the DRC by Christian cults?

      September 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  9. Feaby

    taisija.info natalja.info http://rtem.info/ – rtem.info http://shchukin.info/ – shchukin.info

    January 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  10. Lisa

    First of all, comparing Nickelback which is a great band to the 9/11 attacks is ridiculous and insulting. Stop comparing crappy movies and music to the 9/11 attacks. They are in no way on the same level.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • vanessacar

      You are so ignorant! Didn't understand the point of the article at all did you Lisa? You probably stopped reading after that remark anyway, didn't you? Ignorant people just make me want to SCREAM!!!!!

      January 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  11. Lisa

    First of all, comparing Nickelback which is a great band to the 9/11 attacks is ridiculous and insulting. Stop comparing crappy movies and music to the 9/11 attacks. They are in no way on the same level so shut up.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  12. gerald

    January 7, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  13. Chris Condon

    Before the Moslems start apologizing or stop apologizing, we need a new investigation into what really happened on September 11, 2001. The official version seems to have collapsed as there is little evidence that Osama bin Laden had anything to do with it. Before we discuss whether Moslems should or should not feel guilty about what happened on September 11, we need to find out what happened on September 11.

    January 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Truth

      Agreed!

      March 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • hughjo

      Looks like we, as Americans, can start a dialogue by apologizing for our government. Corporate greed. Our arrogance. Into thinking we could fool the world by killing our own as a means to gain a foothold in the Middle East. Steal oil. Out spend every other program in the world so a handful of people could reap the benefits. What a disgusting legacy these people have left. I'm ashamed to be an American. We framed an entire culture so we could murder and steal and claim legitimacy as a global power. What a joke! The people envolved are all jokes. Most of the world knows we're a joke. That we continually use this tactic as a means to gain the moral upper ground to do whatever we want. And now to dismantle our bill of rights! This is what happens when we become so passive and trust everything our stupid media tells us. Our media which by the way is owned by all the same corporations that have their hands in the cookie jar called uncontrolled defense spending. Please have the sense to follow the money and it all becomes very clear.

      July 6, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
  14. Zainab Al-Saedy

    Hi, I am a American-Muslim-Iraqi and every time I remember 9-11, my heart breaks into pieces, but that still doesn't mean we have to apologize for what happened in 9-11. The terrorist that bombed the twin towers might label himself as a Muslim, but sure does not act like one. Before this dreadful event, Islam was known as a religion of peace and still is, but ignorant people take advantage of what happened on 9-11 and call Muslims terrorist. The ignorance HAS to stop.

    January 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Travis

      Zainab, your comment is so ridiculous... For centuries the middle east has been killing each other because of land, religion and so on. Nobody says for you or any other Muslim to apologise. But anyone that watches the news can very well see how those people live and how violent they are. I guess Muslims got tired of fighting their own people and the neighboring countries that they had to bring it to the USA. Just STOP trying to make something so horrible seem right. If you say awwwwwwwwwww ... the muslims are of piece and love.... WHY the hell were they dancing and laughing even in the USA on sept 11th on the news broadcast stations. GIVE ME A BREAK. All you muslims can try to justify individual muslims all you want. But I have news for you.... It's just like saying a certain group of KKK members did something horrible and only that group is responsible for it and not the whole religious group. MY ASS!!! KKK is just like muslims they believe one way and everybody else is beneath them. If you don't like what the People of the United States have to say about the islam people then why don't all of you pack up and go back to your country. There are no other riligions in America except y'all and the KKK that teach they are above other religions and whatever it takes you guys will have your way.

      March 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  15. ToYouHaters

    HEY GUYS, LISTEN UP!!! those are terrorists, who happen to be muslim. and arent there other terrorists in the world, to? they happen to be of all sorts of religions. The 9/11 terrorists masked it up by using the whole islam reason as a cloak. as far as i know, all religions are established and said only to show man a proper way to lead life. (and the proper way does not consist of killing civilians, as far as i know)

    January 2, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  16. ruggero

    Just read Aman Ali's other posts. His rhetoric and tone is similar to a defensive redneck bigot, too afraid to say what he really thinks. He just tells himself he can get away with it because he's a minority and can play the victim card.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this guy was a closet racist.

    December 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Ruggero, please stop talking about yourself.

      It's obvious you are a redneck + closet racist + complete idiot....

      March 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  17. Max

    "Nickleback is planning on releasing another album. Should I ask white people to apologize for that?" Best line in the article by far. You are officially my hero. haha

    December 29, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  18. HAH

    ISLAM IS DEFINITELY ABOUT TERRORISM. LETS LOOK ALL AROUND THE WORLD AND SEE WHERE THE MAJOR GENOCIDES TAKE PLACE... OH THAT WOULD BE ANY PLACE WHERE MUSLIMS EXIST. AND DONT TELL PEOPLE TO GO PICK UP A QURAN BECAUSE THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION IS NOT THE SAME AS THE ARABIC (REAL QURAN). DO NOT COMPARE CHRISTIANS AND JUDAISM TO ISLAM, BECAUSE THERE IS NO COMPARISON AT ALL

    December 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • LoveAllReligions

      wow, ignorant much? "There are crazies in all religions".

      December 29, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • haja

      Christians are responsible for the the deadliest conflicts in history, genius. They're responsible for the over 15 million lives lost in WWI. They're responsible for the over 60 million lives lost in WWII (6 million of them were Jews). Jews have always been treated better under Muslims rule, rather than Christian rule. It might not see that way today, but it's true.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • Zainab Al-Saedy

      Sometimes I cannot believe what people say. Dude, murder happens all over the WORLD. But when a Muslim does it, its automatically terrorism. Don't get me wrong, I completely disagree with what Osama Bin Laden did to America, because I'm a American citizen who happens to be a Muslim. But I do not label him as a Muslim, because Islam is known for it's peace, until 9-11 happened. So, stfu and back up your facts.

      January 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Patty

      Actually their are many similarities to the Quran, Bible and Torah..get your facts straight.

      January 10, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Re; LoveAllReligions

      Please re-read the section where it says he is a comedian. He was using comedy. Also, it is a fact, because there are crazy people in every country, every race, so why not every religion? Get your facts straight.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Muslims are responsible for Genocides?

      I believe Nazi Germany had nothing to do with Muslims. Wow, you are really stupid. Congrats, you broke a new level of stupidity.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  19. TheGateKeeper

    Just another liar trying to deceive the non-muslims that Islam isn't evil. That, in and of itself, is Islam! DECEPTION!

    December 28, 2011 at 7:26 am |
    • Truth

      Like how you should stop deceiving people in thinking you have a brain....

      March 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  20. momoya

    Why should any Muslim apologize for 9/11? They believe in a torturing god. A god that eternally tortures those who don't worship him in the way he finds pleasing. It'd be like asking Christians to apologize for the Crusades or millions of native americans slaughtered under the guise of 'Manifest Destiny.' No acolyte should apologize for any earthly discomforts caused by those who believe as he does – in a god who maintains a hell for nonbelievers. That' would be silly.

    December 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Zainab Al-Saedy

      And how would you know that? Stop spreading a message about Islam if you cannot back it up.

      January 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.