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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. The Universe

    I must say that when I read the commentary on just about any "political, religious, or racial" subject, I cannot help but think about how we're all doomed to be destroyed by the universe for being idiots. The universe tires of the petty, intolerant, unkind bs that the vast majority of the "anonymous" will so willingly dish out as long as there are no faces to stare into while they rant such as posts like these. It's time to put down the petty child games and child beliefs and get on with solving the real problems that this world faces on all fronts albeit political, racial, religious, or anything else. We have "technologied" ourselves out of a way for so many to maintain their way of life. We have allowed the lesser than to suffer at the hands of the few "brainiacs and warmongers" for the sake of a few tvs, computers, cars, etc. We no longer tolerate each other and kill at the drop of a hat for ideas that are just that...ideas. Until someone can put an article here that actually means something and generates some intelligent, coherent, and meaningful dialogue...why do any of us even bother? Right now, I could care less who is Muslim, and who is Republican, and who is right, and who is wrong. I am far more concerned about the entire world reverting back to medieval times because no one can find a way to live anymore. Doesn't that seem just a little more important than the bs you guys are fighting about on here? I keep rubbing my eyes but all I ever see is bs! Come on people! We can only sweep reality under the rug for so long then we will have to pay attention. Why do we always have to wait until the very last minute as human beings to do anything meaningful? How many must die while we banter about such insignificant crap as religion, race, or politics? Every time I look around I see nothing different...same boat...same oars...same goals. So why do we all row in different directions and punch holes in the bottom of the boat knowing full well it's gonna sink if we do? Did everyone in the world buy a ticket on the "Ignorant-R-Us" boat or am I just dreaming?

    September 8, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Planck

      You're just dreaming.

      September 8, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Josiah

      You are being unrealistic. Examine the roots of the problems you are making blanket statements about and discover that your fellow human beings are very limited in intelligence.
      You want a room full of monkeys to suddenly stand, shake hands, and form study groups. Not gonna happen.
      They are too busy flinging poo to listen to reason.
      Have a banana.

      September 8, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  2. Rainer Braendlein

    No joke: We have got a Muslim army in Germany. Incredible!

    9/11 and the ordinary Muslims

    Fortunately many born Muslims, living here in the West, are secular, that means they don't really practice Islam, but just struggle to survive or to generate some material wealth by any business or job.

    In Germany 60% of the Muslims are secular (according to a survey of the German Federal Minister of Interior from 2007, called "Muslime in Deutschland"). I took the frequency of mosque attendance as indicator. This 60% never go to mosque or merely a couple of times per year.

    However, 40% of the Muslims in Germany take seriously the Islam and even favour Holy War (that is outrageous). Thank God, they just have that atti-tude, but don't practice it. 6% of the Muslims in Germany are ready to fight with weapons immediately, right now, if a Holy War would be declared in Germany.

    Germany has got 4 Million Muslims. 40% out of 4 Mio makes 1.6 Mio. 6% out of 4 Mio makes 240,000 people.

    That means in Germany lives an Muslim army of 240,000 crypto-jihadists. That is without limit! 1.6 Millon Muslims would at least cheer the jihadist, if they would fight.

    Conclusion: Mr. Aman Ali should not take us for fools! That is a crime. 9/11 was a feast day for many Muslims. That is very sad, but true.

    Note: I am not a Muslim-hater. On the contrary, I try to love them, obeying Christs command. I have just studied a little Islamic history and got shocked to what extent Islam is connected with aggressive war. Islam is a crime in itself.

    September 8, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  3. Rainer Braendlein

    USandCDN

    IHeartBigots, the difference between Christianity and islam is that Christianity is a faith about freedom, grace and redemption while islam teaches one to kill the infidels, control the world and eliminate all other religions by whatever means necessary. When a Christian does something like what happened in Norway he does not have the Bible to back him up, as well the Christian community is very quick to call his actions un-Christlike. But a muslim uses the koran to justify his violence and destruction and the rest of the muslim community does little, if anything, to denounce what has happened. When a Christian sins he is going against what his religion teaches, when a muslim sins they are following the teachings of their church.

    September 8, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • paul

      Stop Apologizing? Really? If you all muslims do not stop until Kingdom Come it would not be enough. It was because of ISLAM and people that hated enough that this happened. You people care vile and full of hatred for non muslims. You all deserve to be exterminated from the world.

      September 8, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  4. DrBakroChod

    What is the name of the union of criminals ?

    September 8, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  5. Jason

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

    I'm sorry. I really am.

    September 8, 2011 at 9:06 am |
  6. Dimberlande

    Its too late to Apologize, its too late.....

    September 8, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  7. M.GARZA

    The attacks were 10 years ago, and while we should never forget the lives lost that tragic day, it really pains me as a US military veteran that people are still looking to the muslim world for an apology. (Looking to anyone for an apology for that matter) Have we forgotten the more than 6,000 troops whom lost their lives at war since the beginning of this? Have we forgotten the fabricated evidence from our "intelligence" community? We are the most blessed country in the world to not have to wake up to constant bombings or other horrific events that occur daily in just about every other country in the world. My point is, did we apologize when we invaded Iraq on bad intel? We still have yet to fin any connection to terrorism or the infamous WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION...We did however find this stuff called oil. Had no idea that was there (sarcasm of course) We didnt apologize for that we just justified it by other means. Did we apologize for all of our "precision" bombs that accidentally keep landing near women and children? Possible, yet we continue. Now I am not agaisnt war, War is a neccessary evil in our world today unfortunately. But I consider Iraq and Afghanistan to be a mutual slaughter. We are just taking turns killing one another. This is not war. It's greed.
    Blaming all Muslims for the attacks on September 11th is as ignorant as blaming all caucasians for slavery. Correct me if I am wrong but slavery was not a caucasian concept. Been around for years, and used by many. So apply the same concept here. You are no less a patriot if you are a muslim. Our own governement outlines there should be a clear distinction between church and state. So your religion or beliefs do not define your patriotism.
    I believe one of religions greatest flaws, is that it is open to interpretation. What you take from it, is not what I take from it. Only "OUR" creator knows the true meaning, and it is set upon us to live the best lives we can.
    I will simply end with this. Regardless of religions or beliefs, extremist are just that extreme. They can find meaning from a joke on a Bazooka bubble gum wrapper. We all have them, and they all want extreme things. Extremist are like the people at your job who always have to "one up" your story with something better, more "extreme". Would you punish every Christian at the water cooler if that person was one? Not unless your an extremist yourself.

    Some good reading for us patriots...lol Kinda old but still sad on our part. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2007/09/04/dunce-cap-nation.html

    September 8, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Zoe

      Dear Brother,
      I am a Muslim married to a US veteran. Thank you for your great post and the way you see this world. I don't blame religion, no religion teaches bad things. It is the sick minds of some people who turns this world into a horrible place. Throughout the history, there was always sick minded people. White, Black, Jewish, Muslim, Christian... And religion is to guide us away from sick ideas... We all all suffering in this muddle. And I am praying for all of us.
      Take care.
      Zoe.

      September 8, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • paul

      islam does teach hatred and killing of non muslims. Stop lying you ...you...(fill in the blank)!

      September 8, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Zoe

      Paul,
      Read the Quran, without taking verses out of context
      (that is a easy way out ) and then you will see that the Quran does not teach any of that. Muslims are not even allowed to harm the plants in enemy land. Women, children, elderly people, unarmed people, animals, the environment, anything that is not attacking you, it is forbidden to harm them. I am sure you are smart enough to read a book without pulling it out of context. I don't need to prove you or defend you Islam. It is your choice to see it the way you want to see it. I recommend you to do more research if this topic is bugging you. You may find out that there is more to it.
      Take care.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  8. DrBakroChod

    Just few misguided soul.

    September 8, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  9. Someone

    Muslims have apologized? Funny... I've never heard that apology...

    September 8, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • B. White

      It isn't cute to express ignorance about this fact unless you are about 16 years old NOW. Then you have a good excuse. This isn't a funny issue. A lot of Muslims in America suffered considerably for something they played no part in whatsoever. And on top of that they apologized profusely for years for something they didn't do. I agree with the author of this article. Put it to rest.

      September 8, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  10. hijabi

    Very nice post. I always hate this time of year because I'm a recent convert to Islam and don't know how people will respond to me going out and living my life. It annoys me when people are like, "where are all the Muslims that condon the violence?" Were out here you just ignore us to furthur your own agenda. 0r when people mix up relgion and culture.

    September 8, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  11. DrBakroChod

    Who says Jihad is dead ? Any body on pot !

    September 8, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  12. kailastone

    Thank you for apologizing for "Green Lantern," Aman! That really means a lot! But seriously, the last Pope was the last person I know of to apologize for any of the atrocities christianity has perpetrated on the planet, and it took about 150+ years for that to happen. I don't think normal, everyday Muslims should have to apologize for anything that happened on 9/11. I will, however apologize to my friends in Rochester, NY whose convenience stores or homes were messed up, by our fellow Americans, after 9/11... one family is not even Muslim, but they got robbed and hassled for years after. Aman, please stop apologizing for it, you had nothing to do with it. As Americans, we were ALL traumatized in one way or another after that heinous act on the part of religious, extremist wackos. American Muslims are very brave in my book, to put up with this kind of abuse for 10 years. I know I would be kind of scared to be here and I'm sorry that has to happen to you in your own country.

    September 8, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • Usia

      So you are the victim now? I dont feel sorry for you. If you dont like what happened to your friends in NY. Move to Pakistan, send your kids to war with bad America

      September 8, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  13. Binoy Raman

    Kashmir – a multi-religious state in India, with a majority Muslim population, the only State with a Muslim majority, democratically elected governments, always had a Muslim elected head of government (Chief Minister), but terrorism (read Talibanisation) supported by ALL Middle-Eastern countries. Not ONE Muslim majority country is ready to condemn the acts of the terrorists in the name of "self deteremination", read it as "self Talibanasation". The leader of the separatist group held a prayer for the terrorist head (OBL) eliminated in Abbottabad Pakistan. This problem started way before 9/11/01, in fact, started after the Russians left Afghanistan, i.e. in 1989. Is the writer himself ready to condemn the actions of the terrorists in Kashmir ?

    September 8, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  14. DrBakroChod

    Still religion of peace ? stupid.

    September 8, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • Ali

      For a moslem it is peace bro.
      For an infidel NOOOOO

      September 8, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Zoe

      Please read the Quran and you will see for yourself brother. Jut read a few pages...

      September 8, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  15. Truth

    People are really going to sit here and list all the acts that so called "Muslims" have done when acts are done DAILY by so called "Christians" since the religion was created? Are you kidding me?

    September 8, 2011 at 8:46 am |
  16. sami

    just make a couple of hollywood movies that muslims are good, and the whole picture will change!
    you americans are dolls believing anything on TV! 😀

    September 8, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • sami

      Russians = spies
      Muslims = criminals
      chinese = mafia
      hollywood power baby! 😉

      September 8, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • sami

      and one more thing
      American = he is the only person in the movie who never dies! loool

      September 8, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • sami

      hey guys dont you think that 911 must be mentioned mostlly in every single movie!
      ahh i forgot, in the US socity there are so much depression, separation, disagreements and racism among the people
      and 911 makes us united! 😉 nice played hollywood! lool

      September 8, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    9/11 and the ordinary Muslims

    Fortunately many born Muslims, living here in the West, are secular, that means they don't really practice Islam, but just struggle to survive or to generate some material wealth by any business or job.

    In Germany 60% of the Muslims are secular (according to a survey of the German Federal Minister of Interior from 2007, called "Muslime in Deutschland"). I took the frequency of mosque attendance as indicator. This 60% never go to mosque or merely a couple of times per year.

    However, 40% of the Muslims in Germany take seriously the Islam and even favour Holy War (that is outrageous). Thank God, they just have that atti-tude, but don't practice it. 6% of the Muslims in Germany are ready to fight with weapons immediately, right now, if a Holy War would be declared in Germany.

    Germany has got 4 Million Muslims. 40% out of 4 Mio makes 1.6 Mio. 6% out of 4 Mio makes 240,000 people.

    That means in Germany lives an Muslim army of 240,000 crypto-jihadists. That is without limit! 1.6 Millon Muslims would at least cheer the jihadist, if they would fight.

    Conclusion: Mr. Aman Ali should not take us for fools! That is a crime. 9/11 was a feast day for many Muslims. That is very sad, but true.

    Note: I am not a Muslim-hater. On the contrary, I try to love them, obeying Christs command. I have just studied a little Islamic history and got shocked to what extent Islam is connected with aggressive war. Islam is a crime in itself.

    The individual Muslim conquests (I merely mention the Muslim aggressive wars against the Christian Roman Empire Byzantium; the Arabs conducted war also against non-Christian countries in the East like Persia), together with their beginning and ending dates, are as follows:

    Byzantine–Arab Wars (The guiltless Christian Roman Empire Byzantium was raided by the Muslim Arabs or Muslim Caliphates):

    Wars were between the Byzantine Empire and at first the Rashidun and then the Umayyad caliphates and resulted in the conquest of the Greater Syria, Egypt, North Africa and Armenia (Byzantine Armenia and Sassanid Armenia).

    Under the Rashidun:

    The conquest of Syria, 637
    The conquest of Armenia, 639
    The conquest of Egypt, 639
    The conquest of North Africa, 652
    The conquest of Cyprus, 654

    Under the Umayyads:

    The conquest of North Africa, 665
    The first Arab siege of Constantinople, 674–678
    The second Arab siege of Constantinople, 717–718
    Conquest of Hispania, 711–718
    The conquest of Georgia, 736

    Later conquests:

    The conquest of Crete, 820
    The conquest of southern Italy, 827

    To be continued!

    September 8, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • Jason

      try reading a book about the 16-17th centuries in Europe...

      September 8, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  18. DrBakroChod

    It is Islamic virus, stupid.

    September 8, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • Greg Abdul

      insulting people because of their religion makes you a bigot....did you learn those kind of manners at home from your parents?

      September 8, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  19. whoever wrote the history of islamic terror is a moron

    moron.

    and now go look up history of all other religious wards. And dont twist the direction.

    September 8, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  20. Kaffir

    lets not forgot today and yesterdays islamic atrocities in Kashmir/ Germany

    September 8, 2011 at 8:34 am |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.