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. Khan

    How are Anders Breivik,Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski loners? They listened to Gallar, Gingrich, Beck. Where are you condemning the three? I am being told I cannot pray in lower manhattan. Why? Because I am a Muslim. Heck, you won't even let me pray in Tennessee or California. Peter King is holding a hearing on how Muslim Americans are being radicalized. What about white Americans? Will it take a lunatic opening fire in a mosque before he holds that hearing? There were already pipe bombs in mosques in Jacksonville this year and mosques torched in Tennessee. Where are condemning them? Your defense is that oh its just a lone wolf. How would i feel if I say oh those were just those 19 loners? Major Nidal was a lone wolf but entire religion was blamed for him. Faisal Shahzad was a lone wolf but all Muslim Americans were put on trial for this.
    Like I said, this will never end unless you put yourself in those shoes. As for America, it will go past this bump of discrimination and bigotry. It did with Irish, Catholics, Jews, Blacks and I am sure it will with the Muslims.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Packman

      I honestly believe that Islam should be banned from all civilized countries. Look at the troubles caused by Muslims around the world, Europe, Australia, the US. They simply do no mesh in modern society and instead expect their hosts to adapt to them and their ideology, not the other way around. On 9/11 I saw them on TV cheering in the streets in Detroit and elsewhere and I swear to God if I had been driving by I would've rammed my car into the lot of them. Christ, we cannot even get onto an airplane without submitting to a colonoscopy, all because of them.

      One more thing, CNN, why didn't you put a copy of Playboy in a quran instead of the Bible, like the photos above? Because the crazy ba...... would kill you, you hypocrites.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Khan

      Thank you for proving my point. Don't you now believe that there is a reason you have no power, you do not drive and no one listens to you.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Packman

      But Genghis, I do drive. Is that like an ultimate muslim insult? "You do not drive and no one will listen to your words as you speak them without the power behind them".

      Y'all are some strange mo'fo's.

      September 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  2. Sarge

    Muslims can kiss my American ass. Go back to your dirt caves and practice whatever you want, take it out of the USA where it's not wanted or needed. And give the Cobra Commander back his face mask too.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Muneef

      Am not sure how can make sure that your Ass is truly American Ass...!?

      September 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  3. Kat

    In addition, the Zionist warmongering evidence-forging-to-go-to-wars controlled media keeps saying Muslims celebrated 911 attacks while no singly incident could be proved for that. The only clip came from an Israeli TV channel showing in Jerusalem an old woman with a bunch of pre-teens supposedly eating sweets in celebration of the attacks on 911...no interviewes with the women or kids in the clip on why they're having a party!!! The only folks who were really caught on 911 right in NY taping, cheering, and high-fiving the attacks were a bunch of Israeli Mossad agents...look up their story in youtube.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • David in Detroit

      Tea Bagger.

      September 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  4. Kat

    Furthermore, in Gallup polls, Muslims are far less likely than other religious groups to approve attacking civilians....www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/08/06/gallup_muslim_americans

    September 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  5. Kat

    To the lazy uneducated bigoted mediocre Glenn Beck fans, you may simply google Muslim condemnation of 911 attacks to find many hits about how muslims organizations, countries and leaders instantly condemned the 911 attacks ON 9/11 and offered the US support in the apprehension of the terrorists. ALL 50 Muslim countries in the world condemned the attacks on 911 and allied themselves with the US against the US. Even the axis of evil Iran and Syria provided the US intelligence and support in it wars against Taliben and Al Qaeda. Here is a link for those who truley are interested in learning the truth http://www.whyislam.org/faqs/islam-on-violence/why-are-muslims-not-condemning-terrorist-acts/

    September 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  6. kkk




    September 11

    Where long ago Boeings bore sages to heaven,
    Empty airport lounges around the world.
    The Borings never revisited earth again,
    And the Statue of Liberty is standing without thinking for ever.
    Every tree around the Twin Towers in New York becomes clear in the water,
    And the Pentagon is tearing in Washington DC;
    But peoples look toward customers home, and twilight grows dark,
    With a mist of grief under the bottom of the Rocky Mountains.


    September 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Muneef


      Are you saying that this time the Statue of Liberty will be in danger?

      September 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      Very nice. Thank you.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Muneef

      Guess only her truly represent the American Pride after all what is the American Pride other than the Freedoms and the Unity they achieved for their states...!?

      To fear for her would be obvious since she was misunderstood worldwide for what she exactly represents as being for the Liberty, the Freedoms,the Laws and the Torch of truth for all nations... but since many think that she weighted,measured and judged she was found to take sides rather with her interest than to what she represents...
      This link provided might inspire you further specially the painting of her and what is over her head;

      September 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Really am not sure who spoiled it first was it her or uncle sam?

      September 9, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  7. David

    I've never heard a Muslim apologize for ANYTHING EVER.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      I had one apologize when the Slurpee machine was out of juice.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Muneef

      Why when you can always Pee?

      September 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • peaceandforgiveness

      We Christians, on behalf our brothers Muslims,

      we asking forgiveness from you, Davis, because some terrorist act that on their private ambitious hatred, had hijack the Islam name and Muslim communities.

      Muslim, our friends, our brothers, are a victim too.

      Thank you David, peace upon you,...

      September 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  8. Greg

    Muslims should be treated like every other race in the world. Based on them as a person, not thier race/nationality/anything else. There are good and bad of everything.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • klkeebler

      Well put, Greg.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • CalgarySandy


      September 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  9. magnus

    Muslims laugh about 9/11. They do not apologize for it. They laugh about it.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Sweetness

      Is that right? What did you pole every muslim in America and around the world, and asked them what they thought of 9/11 and the laughed? What a stupid typical american statement. You are the reason America is laughed at.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      @Sweetness. He is the reason the US is hated and mistrusted. No decent person laughs at bigotry. The behavior of their government is why they are laughed at. Having worked in NYC for 5 years, leaving only because of the dot.com crash, I know that most white Americans are not bigots and would never talk about people like these hate filled punks are. This kind of language is a hate crime in the making. It is a shame you cannot prosecute them for spreading hate until after they kill someone.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  10. MarkJS

    The gov'mnt needs to stop bring ing Muslims into this country secretly. They have a program used in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc... that when a person gives them some intelligence, they and their fams are given the opportunity to move to the US, at taxpayer's expense. You didn't know about it? I didn't either, until I spoke to a Muslim in the Detroit area. Ahhh. those clever politicians....

    I'm not saying that all Muslims are bad... But what is true is that Muslims in western society are like oil and water.... they don't mix.

    This will probably have to be reviewed and go through a censor filtering process first.... wonder if it will make it for all to see? Speaking of rights.... I wonder if the CNN censors heard of free-speech rights?? What about my rights to express myself?

    September 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • LouieD

      What makes you think that a Muslim in Detroit is a reliable source of information?

      September 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      You are like oil stinking up the water of diversity and acceptance. We will never solve any of our human problems with war and aggression with people like you lying for the sake of hurting an entire religion. You are the kind who lynched people in the South. I have worked with lots of Muslims in the US and Canada and none of them were what you portray.

      You let in known Nazi war criminals knowing what they had done because they had skills and knowledge you wanted. You hid them and used them and gave them a nice life. How come you are not going on about Germans? How about the ethnic cleansing of Muslims by Christians in Eastern Europe? Oh, you don't count white people in the group? Why not? Because not all of them are like that? Idiot. For the likes of you, I hope there is truth to the concept of Judgement Day. I would go to HeII to see the likes of you take the long drop after strutting up to St. Peter expecting a reward for your hatred and intolerance.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Muneef

      Some might as well steal the money of tax payers in their countries through fraud and then run to claim being politicians or oppositions under political pressure and in need of asylum...!! Have seen many arriving European Air ports ready to say,sign and stamp any thing or claim against their countries just to get in to live in the West...and those not only Muslims but from all countries and doctrines.... But as well found many immigrate to make a living out side his country running away from their families or tribal demands.... The problem those come with the dirty money are welcomed while those looking for true freedoms and opportunity are rejected for being empty pockets...
      Any way not all immigrants have the same story but most came looking for further freedoms and opportunities far from their extreme culture but the problem as it seems the culture has followed them to where they are although might be a bit moderate than the original one at their countries...!

      September 9, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  11. Mork

    Muslims and Muslim leaders won't condone terrorism publicly either here or abroad. Why not? I don't want your apologies...I want you to stand up and denounce terrorism and intolerance. Instead you're on CNN whining about having to apologize. No one asked you to apologize publicly or privately...I gurantee no one has ever asked you for that. No, the need to apologize is the result of your own thought process. You're whining like a 13 year old girl...you're whining about something that isn't being asked of you. You're deflecting what is being asked of you. Stand up and be a man.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • klkeebler


      I'm black and have, in the past, have had racial slurs yelled in my face. Basically, in your words, I shouldn't ask any white person I see to apologize, but it is the responsibility EVERY WHITE PERSON and I EXPECT EVERYONE to pick up loud speakers and preach racial equality. Hmmm don't think I see much of that going on in the US.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  12. marie nicole

    I ask one simple question: Have any of you hate spewing folks ever read the Quran (I am asking non Muslims)? I have, and if you strip it down to the basics it is not all that different from the Bible or the Torah.
    I am not a Muslim, nor a Jew, nor really even a Christian except by extremely loose interpretation in that I believe in a higher being... I do NOT believe in organized religion as it was created merely as a early form of government and a way to control the masses, example: In Christianity, celibacy and/or monogamy was taught not because they truly believe thats what "God" wanted but as a way to control the spread of STD's they did not yet know how to cure.
    My FAITH guides me to believe in kindness, charity to others, honesty, self respect and love... and if all the religious zealots, bigots, and self righteous holy rollers would step off their pulpit long enough to actually absorb the MEANING of their "Holy Book" they may see that we are all not that different. I can assure you all that your God or Allah does not look favorably on the number of wars that have been fought in his name... nor the blood that has been shed.

    Don't you think... if God, or Allah was so sure "Your way" was correct... he would have never given us humans the ability to question it... or he himself would have struck down those that didn't believe "correctly"? The great being (by which ever name suits you) gave us free thought for a reason... but I doubt that reason was to kill each other off for no good reason.

    Forget your "religion" for a moment and consider your "faith" as they are very different... if you let go of the hatred and anger and stop seeing the differences and rather find the similarities in each others faith, the world may find peace.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Sam I Am

      Muslims are killers and their idea of perfection is to be like Mohammad and have 13 year olds as wives. Why not let them jump off the top of the new Trade Center and I will accept their apology when they hit the ground.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • marie nicole

      Re: Sam I Am.

      Thank you for being a SHINING example of the bigotry and close mindedness to which I was referring. Sadly it is opinions like yours that breed hate and foster negativity.

      Ok... follow me here while a draw a parallel to your way of thinking... Stay with me here... less than 1% of men in the America are rapists... right??? And less that 1% of the Muslim population actually committed these atrocities.... right? So by your line of thought ALL men should are rapists and therefore locked up... because you are basing your opinion on an ENTIRE people because of the actions of less than 1%, and in your opinion...thats ok...right?.

      Now... I assume...by your name you are a male... so would you like to now be considered a rapist and treated as such... simply because of your gender? Seems pretty ridiculous now huh?

      I'm not totally sure, but I think i just schooled your close-minded butt!

      September 9, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  13. jeff

    I don't look at them as "muslims' JUST CRAZY PEOPLE!

    September 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  14. Mamu

    Why should Muslims apologize for the sin that they never perpetrated? On the contrary, I ask a question: Will the Americans have the temerity to place before the world the truth about the well-organized conspiracy theories hatched by the Christians and Jews themselves to enact September 11 attacks with an iniquitous intention to defame Islam?

    September 9, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Steve

      Your therapy is overdue

      September 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Freethinksman

      If Al Qaeda had insisted on its own innocence rather claiming responsibility worldwide for the attack, I still wouldn't seriously consider the possibility of your assertion. But Al Qaeda didn't shy from it. They embraced it. Or was duping them into claiming responsibility part of the Master Plan?

      September 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • LouieD

      That's it, Mamu... The first Muslims I want an apology from are your parents. Not for 9/11, but for an even more heinous act: bringing YOU into the world!

      September 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  15. fuzzball

    While we are at it, I haven't yet heard the apology for Crusades from the modern Christians. White Americans should apologize for Paris Hilton and the entire Kardashian family. Black Americans should apologize for introducing pants that only fit around the knees.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  16. David

    I've never heard them start apoligizing. If they are, they are doing it very quietly.

    September 9, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Adam

      That's bc Muslims apologizing does not make good TV. Them blowing stuff up does. They can only make the apology they can't insure that it gets to you. That's media's responsibility. The organization MuslimsForLife does blood drives every 9/11 in honor of the victims where they collect 10,000 units of blood. Bet you didn't know that either right?

      September 9, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • bob

      Ive never heard any apologies either. No clue what he's talking about.

      September 9, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  17. NoReligion

    No apology necessary! It would be disingenuous at best. The muslim community holds the terrorists out as heroes. They are not condemned; they are revered. Muslim hypocrisy is no different than that perpetrated by the Catholic church when a priest molests a child: they feign outrage in public, then hide the perpetrator within the folds of the church. Religion is cancer and Islam is the most aggressive strain of the disease.

    September 9, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  18. chuckmartel

    A muslim comedian. Now that is a joke. Some funny muslim comedy routines include shutting down the South Park show under threat of death, repeated attempts trying to kill cartoonists they don't like, threatening to kill David Letterman and driving an American female cartoonist underground. Actually you don't have to apologize. Just take yourself and your 'comedy' to one of your stinking islami cesspools.

    September 9, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Adam

      I sense much hate in you.

      September 9, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • bob

      Adam, the force is strong in you..

      September 9, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  19. John


    September 9, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  20. Reality

    To the nitty-gritty once again:

    “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today
    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    September 9, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • marie nicole

      Fantastically put!

      September 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      Well said. The same can be said for Nationalism. I am not proud of being Canadian based on the good fortune of being born here. I am proud because of the humane and all encompassing values we live. LIVE not in the past tense. I will not apologize to the natives for what was done to them in the past. I will work to end bigotry against them today. I will live my belief in the value of diversity and the value of all citizens regardless of color, ethnicity, or history. It is meaningless for me to apologize to African Americans for something done in a country other than mine a couple of hundred years ago. It is also stupid. Would it not be better to be good to the living and model accepting behavior? Alas, if you keep it up with the bigotry against me or others I will stop being accepting. There are, likely, few actual bigots but they make an inordinate amount of noise and increase the negativity that must go away if we are ever to live in peace. It is a waste of good time to try to make them happy as they likely do not want to lose their hatred. Better to use the time helping those who are open to living here and now.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:56 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.