September 7th, 2011
12:11 PM ET
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.
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 and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.