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. CW

    By the same token, why am I supposed to feel guilty for slavery practiced 2-3 centuries ago? My family never owned slaves, I lived in a state that granted them refuge when they escaped and yet my government has often considered retribution payments at taxpayer expense. There are bad people in every culture and those that don"t behave badly shouldn't have to apologize or pay for that behavior.

    September 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • standingwave

      It's just so much easier to deal in generalities.Treating others as individuals instead of simply "them" or "the world" or,if I'm feeling mean as "sheeple" requires so much less thought and effort.Wouldn't it be terrifying to realize that every individual does things for individual reasons?And God forbid I should agree with some of those reasons.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Mr.Myxlptlxk

    Gee! A muslim thinks that muslims should stop apologizing for 911. That makes a lot of sense. The fact is, worldwide, most Muslims hate Westerners (either secretly or openly) no matter how Westernized a culture they find themselves living in and would hide fellow Muslims, terrorists or not, from the law at need. WHEN THERE AREN'T ANY MUSLIMS, THERE WON'T BE A MUSLIM PROBLEM!

    September 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • J.W

      So what exactly is your solution?

      September 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • DoubleTap

      solution...conform or give your sweety a burqa

      September 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Talgrath

      Wow, 1.5 billion people hate western countries? Seems like there would be a lot more issues if that was the case.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • J.W

      He seemed to be implying that we should get rid of all Muslims. I was gonna see if he had some sort of plan to do that.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • BBoy705

      I thought Hitler was dead!

      September 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Muslims have not butchered any body like you westerners ahve butchered Jews

      You westerners have killed millions of innocent Jews, Now same Nazi propaganda you are doing against Muslims,and attacking every Muslim country destroying them in the process. I won't wonder if you Nazis soon start your campaign of exterminating Muslims. but Muslims are not Jews.

      September 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm |

    It's funny watching the Conservative bible thumpers repond to this article condeming the acts of terror. But what the Muslims did on 9/11 is no worse than The Crusades through europe.

    September 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • DoubleTap


      September 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • standingwave

      Certainly no worse than when the Christian Militia in Beirut slaughtered Muslims at a refugee camp.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Muslims have not butchered any body like you westerners have butchered Jews

      Hiroshima and Nagasaki any one ? I believe those were the biggest terrorist attacks in the world.

      September 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  4. RVD

    There are extremists in this world. They do not belong to any particular religion. Every one should be alert and cooperate with authorities. When people see enough help from Muslims in controlling terrorism, they will understand and appreciate their role. It may take some time.

    September 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  5. Elizabeth

    What are the odds we'd ever see the headline "Whites stop apologizing for slavery"???

    September 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Kevin

      When will the black in Africa apologize for slavery? By the way, its still going on there..........

      September 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  6. BBoy705

    I'm sorry for being white. I'm sorry for the fact that some ancestor of mine owned salves. I'm sorry that some ancestor of mine likely killed North American Indians. I'm sorry that white folks who might be related to me who have been successful business people and are likely raping and pillaging the Earth somewhere. I'm sorry for anything that any other person of color or other ethnicity might consider an egregious assault against their culture, color or ethnicity by any white ancestor of mine! There... I've apologized now get off my freakin' back and stop harassing me! I will NOT apologize again for anything any person even remotely related to me did to anyone else ever!!!

    September 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Kevin

      The muslims are still apologizing because they know that the Koran really does advocate this type of violence; just ask any Muslim what they think should happen to the Jews in Israel. If they weren't for the genocide of the Jews and defeat of the western culture, which they see as unholy and counter to their view of the world, they wouldn't need to apologize.
      My family didn't own slaves, but I see no need to apologize if they did, unless I was pro-slavery. My family had some cowboys in it, so perhaps they killed Indians (don't know for sure) but I suppose I would need to apologize if I were for the destruction of the Indians, but since I'm not, why apologize. The people doing wrong and supporting the wrong ideals need to continue to apologize for their offenses.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  7. Tony

    Islam is terror – Islam only knows terror, oppression and Islam is NOT welcome

    September 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Zain

      You sir are truly uneducated on anything that is different to you. Go back to watching your fox news.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • DoubleTap


      September 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • DoubleTap

      Zain, go back to MSNBC and continue to apologize for all wrong doing you Fn loser

      September 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  8. Peaceman

    I am not Muslim. Muslims had nothing to do with the 9/11 events. There are many white christian, black, Jewish and other Americans who hate Americans. So what.. the world is full of nuts. Anyone who believes that Muslims were responsible for 9/11 is just ignorant.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • ****

      you are incorrect in your statement that Muslims had nothing to do w 9/11. the attacks were, in fact, planned, funded, and executed by Muslims...now, anyone that believes ALL Muslims are responsible, is very sadly mistaken...

      September 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Kevin

      So sad that you would choose to ignore everything factual around you and make such a blatently stupid statement suggesting that no muslims had anything to do with 9/11. I can name every single one of the highjackers and they ALL were muslims. Your not a muslim??? Who cares? Muslims are apologizing because their muslim comrades did something that they can't imagine doing-murdering 3000 innocent lives. And don't start on the question of innocense path; these people went to work to make a living just like the rest of us-only difference is a plane, highjacked by muslims in the name of Islam, crashed intentionally into their place of work and wiped them off the face of the Earth. Grow up Peaceman and quit trying to rewrite history.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • remember the uss liberty

      ISRAEL DID 911.

      Dr. Alan Sabrosky of the US Army War college came out and said it. The top brass of the military knows it.
      Check out "911 missing links" on youtube

      The WHOLE WORLD knows Israel did 911.

      the us media is 100% lies. wake up.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  9. Jamie

    I would like to take a moment to personally apologize that Nickleback is planning on releasing another album.....and don't listen to these people. The majority of literate Americans understand the difference between the two. I guess us white folks should be apologizing for the idiots on this forum slurring messages of hate. There is terrorism in all cultures and religions. I think Christians going into other countries and telling the poor, hungry souls they can't have a bite of food until they embrace Christ is terrorism. I think Catholics preaching that people who embrace ANY other religion that isn't theirs that they are going to hell is an act of terrorism. And how much blood shed in the entire span of history can be blamed on just those two religions....let's take a moment to research that before casting some more stones...

    September 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • anesa

      thank you jamie. im so glad there are people like you who understand that this occurs in every religion. its not the religion but the misinterpretation by certain extremists claiming it is done in the name of the religion. i hope more people open their eyes and understand like u do.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Patrick

      I agree with you Jamie – many, many horrible things have been done in the name of many religions. However, just FYI, Catholicism is Christianity. In fact, it's the original Christianity. Before Martin Luther split off and formed Protestantism, every Christian was Catholic. While I consider myself a "recovering Catholic," which is to say agnostic, I still try to be historically accurate.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  10. ivan

    dude, chill. apologize for ever. thats it

    September 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  11. Tom Reynolds

    Aman, Great report, very important idea. The Nickleback line had me on the floor as a white male. I feel like you almost discredit yourself with your puns though. You have a very important point here and this should sound less like you are just going off on an angry rant

    September 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  12. Sam

    Everyone of these terrorists went to their Mosques to pray and preach. No one has EVER turned in another Muslim.
    Guilty by association people.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • ladydi

      good comment!!!!!

      September 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • hmbsandman

      Then you should read this article. Net net, the FBI sent in an undercover agent (who is a crook and serving time on unrelated charges right now) into a mosque in SoCal. The guy was so outrageously anti-American that the mosque authorities called the FBI to turn him in!


      September 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Sid

      That is factually incorrect. In our wars against terror on foreign land, intelligence coming from the local muslim population has been a key factor aiding our success. Guilt by association is just a silly concept.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • J.W

      In that case, what about the BTK killer? Should we arrest his family and everyone he went to church with?

      September 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Talgrath

      Not true, the guy who tried to bomb Times Square called the FBI to warn that his son may do something like what he attempted to do; the FBI...promptly ignored him. Not only that, he contacted them from another country, he isn't even American. You're obviously an ignorant bigot though, so none of this matters to you.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • remember the uss liberty

      everything you say is true SAM.....

      ABOUT JEWS!!!!

      Jews are ALL guilty by association. they go to synogogue and plot and plan!

      ISRAEL DID 911.

      Dr. Alan Sabrosky of the US Army War college came out and said it. The top brass of the military knows it.
      Check out "911 missing links" on youtube

      Muslims are to afraid to even speak to each other in mosques for fear of the FBI!

      wake up

      September 29, 2011 at 1:41 am |
  13. Cycle

    Muslims will have to continue apologizing for terrorism as long as whites have to continue to apologize for slavery, it's just the cycle of blame that must be perpetuated to justify our inability as humans to move forward. As much as you, Mr. Ali were not flying a plane 10 years ago, my migrant white relatives were picking berry on a farm with a bunch of other migrant persons 100 years ago, making me as much a slave perpetuator as you are a terrorist perpetuator. Be prepared to apologize for a long time.....

    September 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  14. Sam

    It is what is . Its like saying not all KKK members hate blacks. All Muslims hate the west, even though they choose to live here and enjoy all our freedoms. Even the ones that say they love the U.S, deep down want to see the west fall.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  15. pantagruel30

    To be clear, when did Muslims start apologizing for 9/11?

    September 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  16. prommy

    i agree with you..Not all the Muslims are terrorists
    But at the same time 99.9999% Terrorists are Muslims !!!!! I don't know why..Do you ?

    September 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Sam

      That is 100% the truth. Just nobody can say it because of stepping on someones toes. Don't start bring up the past we are talking about present day folks, All terrorist are muslims period

      September 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • J.W

      What do you mean dont bring up the past? So terrorists are only terrorists if they are committing terrorism right now at this very moment? There has been violence between all religions for thousands of years

      September 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Talgrath

      What about the Irish terrorist groups that are predominantly white and 100% Christian? What about environmental terrorists who are predominantly white and not Muslims? They are far more than 1% of the "terrorist population".

      September 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Abraxas

    Don't apologize. Just keep burying the martyrs we oblige you with daily. Even the dogs won't eat them.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  18. justin

    the author of this article is a joke....you affiliate with a religious group of hate, so maybe you should re-evaluate your own religion...obviously there is a good percentage of muslims in the world that support these hateful ideas and attacks on innocent people, so take your article and shove it where the sun dont shine!!!!

    September 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  19. Sy2502

    Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists these days are Muslims. And while there are murderers of all religions, when was the last time people died by the hand of a Jew screaming "Yahweh is great", or a Buddhist yelling "Buddha is great"? Get real Mr.Ali!

    September 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Grace Gorman

      Are you saying that the carrier of the latest terrorist attacks, Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, a Christian right-wing extremist, who has been debating against Islam for years, is also a muslim??? Get real.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  20. mike

    wow, you have a magic carpet?

    September 8, 2011 at 1:12 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.