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. junaid

    i love reading the comments from these ignorant rednecks... It honestly makes my day to know how dumb people are...

    I appreciate it, keep them coming!!!

    September 15, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • ydocsgnillats

      Dude, for real, people are really ignorant. Im Christian, not Muslim, but i see for the most part exactly where this guy is coming from. And these stupid comments are all assumptions. And also, they are retarded. The only thing they have to back them up are various random stories in the news about people rejoicing about it, but honestly? even if that's like 50 Muslims total celebrating, thats 50: atleast a billion, which = They probably don't even have a G.E.D. ha.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • ridiculous

      Both of you have just done the same thing you accuse others of performing.

      Good job.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • markjuliansmith

      Your comment lacks a certain quota of intelligent argument – for instance a 'redneck' needs defining as the notion of what one is varies considerably particularly given you are one in the first place.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  2. Yawar

    Very insightful article, but I dont think any reasonable minded American would expect a muslim to apologize for 9/11 nor would a reasonable minded muslim apologize for 9/11 because apologizing on behalf of someone else, especially when you dont know who that someone else is, carries no weight.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  3. rcp4961


    September 15, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • dude

      actually it’s just the German government that apologises, not the people, and that’s because the holocaust was caused by the actions taken by the state, also known as state terrorism, while 9/11 was caused by Al-Qaeda, a fundamentalist organisation, and besides why should Muslim people who are not associated with 9/11 apologise, should Christians apologise for all crimes committed in the name of Christianity? I think not!

      September 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  4. dsmith

    None of the moslems i've heard of have ever said they were sorry for 9/11. They have gathered at the local mosque in our area to celebrate on the evening of 9/11. I've heard them justify 9/11, but i've never heard anyone stand up and say they were sorry- only apathy.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • PAPA

      what a retard you are!

      September 15, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  5. Abubilal

    Read the history and you will see that the " white Christian" has many apologies to do millions of people who are killed by the name of Jesus ( peace be upon him) and the Cross!

    September 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • dsmith

      Unfortunately you are confusing history w/ modern events / news stories. any one with an ounce of intelligence can tell the difference between the two. History is full of horrible acts created by man in the name of every religion, but modern news is only full of horrible act created by moslems for their religion- islam.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • Oi

      @dsmith: You nailed it, bro.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Chad


      Really. So only Muslims were responsible for the Norway shooting? Only Muslims were responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing? Your stupidity really knows no bounds does it.

      September 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  6. dd

    If muslims need to apologise for 9 11 then white people need to apologise for the oklahoma bombing

    September 15, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Me

      Islam is a horrible religion that fully supports the continued violence against free thinking people throughout the world....if the so called innocent 99.99 percent majority of Muslims would stand up against their violent fellow Muslims then the world might finally find some peace. But instead when countries such as Iran are given the chance to have Muslims in control...they can do nothing but commit violence.....all in the name of the Quran.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  7. Pali4Ever

    For all you dummies. Capitalism is destroying all countries. If all humans were to properly study there religion we would be in beautiful shape. You guys assume. God gave you a brain, so use it. It's not about religion. It's just an excuse to cover up the real problem going on in the world. STUPID

    September 15, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  8. Pali4Ever

    Hey, how you doing?

    September 15, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  9. RainMaker

    Well written but also misleading. This article actually presupposes that muslims did it when many non muslims like Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones believe it was an inside job with valid questions. Watch 9/11 Loose change and Alex Jones' Terror Storm. All available for free on youtube. America has beautiful , great, kind hearted people. And with that.....some really really reallyy dirty evil people. Martin Luther King's statue in DC is a prime example and a proof that people in the United States government don't actually believe that all men were and are created equally and the govt has caused chaos with in u.s around the world from crime against Native and African americans to the incident of the Gulf of Tonkin, Mussaddaq incident, vietnam war, 9/11 and now Iraq and Afghanistan. If you don't believe all this. Atleast prove to yourself that you DO have free will by watching these videos. Many people don't watch these videos just because they are afriad that they may turn against their own govenrment.......seriously???????? That is how weak your upbringing was? I honestly think people do not have free will in this country. btw "War On Democracy" is also a good video to watch. it's on netflix (not sure if it is on youtube)

    September 15, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  10. bobalu

    No need to apologize. All I want is acceptance that it was committed by Al Qaeda and not an inside job or done by the Israelis.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • RainMaker

      Why do you think Al Qaida did it? because fox or the pentagon told you? or was it a message from God to the White House. You need to stop believing that Unitd States govt gets its order directly from heaven. Dont' you ever read history?

      September 15, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • dsmith

      Great poin!. But you should also strive to inform these bloggers that the earth isn't flat anymore and there is no tooth fairy. Oh, and Hitler's brain isn't alive and well in argentina-at least lets hope not!

      September 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  11. Factdealer

    some people here have no idea how many people died because they were not Christian. ie Crusades for starters and we can throw in Hitler as well (Christians deny this because they dont want to placed in the same group as Hitler) but lets face it more people have suffered because of Christians than any other religious group COMBINED.

    Deny it all you want but facts are facts. nearly 1 billion people have died due to religious wars (not including the 209 million due to communism), take a guess who responsible the for 80% of those deaths?

    U MAD?

    September 15, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • David Telliho

      You Sir, have perverted history, and the Word of God. If you refer to the destruction recounted in the days of Joshua, note that it wasn`t his idea. But God`s. If you read Jesus(God`s son), the instruction to Christians is to love and forgive enemies. I think your true issue is with God. Ask Him, present your issues and complaints to Him. See what you recieve, if you dare.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • dsmith

      To inform the uneducated; nazis and communists are not christians any person who reads history knows both were anti-christian. But both parties did have a very unique relationship with islam, mainly a result of both parties anti-jewish policies.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
  12. Michael

    Americans !!!!!!!!........Please do your homework. Muslims worship a Rock. That's right; their god is nothing more than a rock. For nearly 1400 years, the slow-witted muslims have been receiving their instructions from a rock;...a piece of the earth. Unfortunately the muslims are so stubborn they will forever refuse to see the light.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Abubilal

      A rock?! really?! are you moron or ignorant? I think you are both. Muslims worship the one and only almighty "GOD".

      I can tell your level of knowledge is far far below zero.

      September 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Oi

      @Abubilal: There IS no God and you are the moron. Religion, ALL religion, is bunk and nothing but a vehicle for mind control, manipulation of the masses (sheeple) and amassing wealth through the pocketbooks of those you snooker with your fairy tales.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  13. Adam

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

    All the apologies in the world couldn't apologize for Nickelback.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Punjab83


      September 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  14. Pat

    When Americans start apologzing to the Indians, Black and other ethics group, then we can call it even. Every Muslims should not be held responsible.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Michael

      Pat,.....this is a Christian nation. If you would study your history more carefully; especially the history of the United States, you will learn that it was necessary for incoming Christians to move the native Americans back. The original settlers ( indians ), were practicing Voodoo and other ungodly rituals. In order for God to establish his will in this beautiful land of ours, we had to change the woshiping environment of America so Christians could teach the will of God.

      Remember this well, Pat. We are not down here for ourselves; we are down here for God. Doing God's will should be your number 1 priority.............Be fair to yourself and think about it.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • bobalu

      Americans are taught in school that the genocide of the Indians was cruel and wrong. No apoloagies can make up for thei loss. However, they do get to have the casinos.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Oh the willfullness

      @Michael NO, this is not a christian nation, nor was it ever. The (white) power structure of the last 400 years has pledged allegiance to "christianity" but there were native americans (nobody into voodoo there) who worshipped the idea of a naturalistic deity. There were many catholics moving in from the mexican territories (lots of fundamentalist christians consider that not a religion, oh the ignorance), and since the expansion of the US we have had immigrants from eastern europe, the far east, muslims, jews from all over the world, free thinkers, atheists and more.
      Christians want to believe (as they believe all kinds of funny stuff) that this is a christian nation. I hate to disappoint you, but there are many people here who are not affiliated with christianity. Politicians professing christianity in order to get voted into office is a whole other matter.
      Btw, those godly puritans who "had to push back" the voodoo loving indians, well, those loving christian people burned and hung witches, executed people who didn't toe the line and more. What Would Jesus really Do with those hypocrites?? Ask yourself that question, Michael. Yes, you're in the dog house with Jesus.

      September 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Punjab83

      @Oh the willfullness – You said it best man! Michael needs to brush up on his morals and ethics. Vodoo practicing Native Americans... bahaha! What are you on Michael?!? I want some!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Abubilal

      Michael? Do you really believe in what you are saying?!! really? killing millions of indians to establish a crhistian nation!! wow. Even Hitler didn't have that pervert thinking.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • dsmith

      If we start apologizing for every act of agression committed thoughout history everyone will have to apologize including the poor indians and the jews. The west has a very "liberal white" view of history and it basically says all the brown non-christian people lived in peace until evil white people came and made them slaves and took their land. The mongols were not white christians were they? what about the romans or the aztecs, zulus, mogols, vikings,huns, etc...

      September 15, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  15. Notbacking Down

    Aman, nice way to try to blow sunshine up our butts. Sure the majority of Islamic Americans are happy with the way things are going in this country. The Zionist America is suffering financially. You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig. I'd go along with your "a few crazies" philosophy if it weren't for the fact that there are millions more than a few of Islam that think anyone not Muslim should be converted or destroyed. You need to put down your rose colored glasses and take a closer look at history where Islam is involved. Religion in general has done nothing but kill, steal, and destroy for thousands of years. BTW, you and your friends can quit classifying all who feel Islam is a religion of hatred as Islamaphobes. I have no phobia of Islam. I'm not scared of your religion. Your jihadist can bring it anytime they want. I just have no use for your misguided beliefs.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Adam

      You don't know how to use the proverbial toaster do you?

      September 15, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Notbacking Down

      Best reply you could come up with there Adam. Commonly used reply when one can't produce a valid response.

      September 15, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  16. Joanie

    America has slaughtered, lynched, and practiced every kind of abuse known to mankind against the slaves the brought from Africa to build this country. To this day America has not uttered a single word of apology.

    Why then should America expect an apology from anybody? Lead by example and sincerely apologize to Africa and African American for the worst and longest holocost of all times: slavery!

    September 15, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Notbacking Down

      Uh, nice try Joanie. I do believe African Americans have been apologized to many times over. Read your history. Africa deserves no apology from us.They need to give one to you. It was Africans who were rounding your people up. They owe the black peope and apology. Slavery was a horrible thing and I do not condone it by any means. But your ranting about how terrible America has treated folks leads me to tell you that if you feel America is that horrible, I hear the weather is nice in Canada this time of year.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • pjacobs

      Oh really, America has never apologized?.....We fought the civil War and ended slavery, this country has paid a terrible price for the injustice of slavery. You toss out the word Holocaust.......let me tell you slavery as bad as it was, it was NOT the Holocaust.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  17. TheButcher

    Appology hell.... show me your bleeding nose.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  18. scir91onYouTube

    i was born into a muslim family but then became an atheist after going to college a decade ago BEFORE 9/11 and opening my mind because of knowledge and education. all religions are makeshifts at best of and in life. people need god or a set of rules OR the most important "a hereafter" because no one wants to perish forever. this isn't a compelling enough reason to adhere to one religion. oh btw, if you choose the wrong religion, you will make god angry so beware! humans have too much of an ego, hence the monuments, statutes, and "record keeping" beyond what is useful, and more towards boastful. god is dead. and we have killed him.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Dan

      Do you ever wish you actually knew what you were talking about ?

      September 15, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Oi

      @Dan: Do you ever wish that your sarcastic retorts had any validity?

      September 16, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  19. TDJ

    Alright, I followed your advice, I got me my copy of "The Interpretation of the Glorious Koran" as non-Arabic editions are often called in English. Sura
    2:120 states : “Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion. Say: "Verily, Islâmic Guidance is the only Guidance. And if you were to follow their desires after what you have received of Knowledge, then you would have against Allâh neither any protector nor helper.”

    So. What does that mean?


    September 15, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • G.Elbaz

      Out of context, as always. read the whole chapter and if still confused, read the historical background and timeline of the political, and social events that were happening at that time when that chapter was revealed. -- you cant read two sentences of one page and be convinced that you understand Islam -–

      September 15, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  20. J. M.

    Thank you so very much. I have been trying for the last ten years to impress upon people I work with and family member s that not all followers of Islam hate Americans or hate America. All people need to do if they have the brains and tenacity to research history, they would learn of the dynamic teachings of Mohammed; with out the number "0" we would never have learned negative number and we would still be using Roman numerals. can you imagine trying to divide and multiply with Roman numerals?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • dsmith

      It's not that there are not any "good" moslems, its just they are affraid to stand up and speak out against what backwards and evil people are doing to their religion. It's not history -its front page news for the last 45 years!

      September 15, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Chris

      You're the one who needs to brush up on history. The numeral zero as we use it is an Indian invention.

      September 16, 2011 at 1:09 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.