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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. james

    I seem to remember that Muslims around the world were very quiet post 8/11. The news organizations looked everywhere for expressed consternation from Muslim leaders. Am I incorrect?

    September 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • TB

      James, you are correct, although if you want to keep your credibility factor up, get the date right. It was 9/11, not 8/11.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Muneef

      TB.
      Nice catch... 🙂

      September 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • Ali Shahin

      Yes you are incorrect. One of the first leaders that mentioned how sorry they were about what happened was Khatami of Iran. They also had a candlelight vigil the same night in Tehran. Do a little web search and stop watchig Fox News.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  2. evil islam

    FACT= Islam says death to infidels.Who are infidels? We are they do not believe in islam.Sounds like a hate group..
    FACT= Islam Does NOT give women equal rights.Si why do they worship a religion that treats them so bad.
    FACT= Mohammad married a 9 year old = PERVERT.And you worship a pervert. Aisha was six or seven years old when she was engaged to Muhammad and nine when the marriage took place.Aisha stayed in her parents' home for several years until she joined Muhammad and the marriage was consummated.she was nine years old at the time.
    FACT = Followers of Islam are animals.slaughtered American contractor Nick Berg. Sitting in a chair, Berg made the following statement: “My name is Nick Berg, my father’s name is Michael, my mother’s name is Susan,” the man said on the video. “I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in … Philadelphia.”The video then changes to a scene of masked men, with Berg sitting in front of them. After reading a statement, the masked men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” – “God is great.” They then held the head out before the camera.THIS IS THE REAL FACES OF ISLAM.barenakedislam.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/american-nick-bergs-beheading-warning-graphic-images/
    FACT= Muslims do not care about the life of the innocent.
    In this case, just as it has happened so many times before, it seems that the executioners used a dull knife again. These guys really left the man take the imminent death with all of its worst. The knife wielding masked man slowly cut through the neck of the victim as if to take in the joy of causing slow and painful death. He cut through man’s trachea and esophagus which detached victim’s mouth from the rest of the body, yet he’s still making desperate attempts to scream and all the noise is coming out of his neck. It’s brutal.
    As carotid arteries got cut, the blood started gushing out in volume you have never seen before. The massive blood loss along with horrific sound this beheaded man lets out make this easily the most brutal beheading video you will have ever seen. Also notice how just before the beheading starts, the camera focuses on victims bruised arms. That man was heavily beaten prior to his painful execution. He was given a choice to say his last words – it’s in a language I don’t understand (possibly a Middle Eastern tongue) but you can tell the man has already gone through hell on Earth and knows the worst is yet to come. He likely wished for a quick death so he’s done with it, unfortunately for him, he was not granted that wish. Brutal video.I don’t want to sound mundane with warnings, but WARNING on this one. Extremely brutal video. Very bloody. You have never seen this much blood ejected out of man’s body before. Knife executioners used to behead this man was likely really dull which you can tell by what it took to cut through the soft tissues of the neck. The video then jumps to the footage of decapitated head laying atop man’s dead body – which I’m assuming is because cutting through his spine took them forever, so they got rid of that so they’re not ridiculed for being complete amateurs. Once again – this video will hunt you for years, even if you’ve seen previous beheadings and took it like a champ. This one is worse. The sound is extremely painful and the amount of blood lost is beyond comprehension. You can’t even believe heart can pump so much blood with each beat. Watch at your on risk, you’ll have to deal with it yourself if you opt to go for it. I’m not kidding, it’s the worst beheading video ever!
    It appears as though the name of beheaded man was Jasus Musel. The beheading was carried out by MUSLIMS.See a pattern??
    Watch muslims in the name of islam.Not 100 years ago but in modern day.Islam is evil and everyone who follows it becomes evil.Let the videos speak. http://www.bestgore.com/beheading/worst-beheading-video-ever-horrific-sound-massive-blood-loss/
    outsidethebeltway.com/web_site_american_hostage_killed_in_iraq/--
    The video, on an Islamist site, identified the hostage as Eugene Armstrong and showed a masked man sawing his head off with a knife.
    watch NICK BERG get beheaded in the name of ISLAM then we can talk if you can watch the entire video.That is evil.Islam is evil.Here is a time line of muslim bombers.See the pattern???
    http://barenakedislam.wordpres...
    http://creepingsharia.wordpres...
    http://www.google.com/search?q=timeli...

    -

    September 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • jack

      aman, the facts speak for themselves. You know what happens to people who speak against Islam. There is no freedom or peace in Islam, just violently forced compliance. If you don't believe it just try not complying in a muslim ran country. You might get away with it in america because we have individual rights, but what are the facts in a muslim country.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Mike

      @ evil islam, Come on man!!! what do you really know about islam? Nothing!!! Who killed so many slaves in this country? who enslaved so many people in Africa for so long? who killed so many Natives of this country? as far as women not being treated equally is not a matter of religion, it is a matter of culture. When did women in America started to vote? when did they start working at jobs.....Come on...lets not go there. all religions have good intent, but many take it out of content. By you saying what you said about other religion, you yourself is a radical (terrorist). That is how religion conflicts start, by demonizing other religion "My God is the true God...". Have you ever said what if the religion i am insulting is the true religion? it means you just disrespected the God who created you. You have to look at it like that, since none of us have concrete evidence of God's existence, except faith. If you believe Christianity is the right religion, then follow it. What gives if someone else believes otherwise? God gave all of us the free will to choose whichever God we think is right. So please, i ask you...just be peaceful and focus on your religion than anyone elses.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      Evil you.

      Blasphemy is a serious Crime in my world and have to be dead careful choosing your words so to speak specially among strangers... But to go public with such thing then who could save you if any lunatic jumps your neck thinking he is doing right.. Who is wrong here the one who made the hurt, humiliation and blasphemy or the lunatic that jumped his neck...?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  3. Solaymon Isa

    And again.....Yet another thread to prove my point. Notice comments from people identifying as Muslim are respectful and informed. Comments from people identifying as non Muslims, as usual are rude and uninformed. What opinion should the world form of non Muslims based on this evidence which is prevalent all over Islam related threads on the web? You be the judge. PEACE

    September 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  4. clearick

    Islam needs to move forward, the Muslims in the US should be helping the Muslims in Egypt and Libya to develop and become modern productive states. Muslims need that influence even more in Palestine and Gaza! As long as the majority of Muslims are ignorant and uninformed the easier it is for them to be manipulated and controlled. The world of Islam doesn't know that Muslims can coexist under American law.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  5. hawken

    Islam should apologize for 9/11 and all the violence that has been created in the name of its religion. As the author stated just read the koran, it is full of violence in where muhammed stated for its followers to kill the unbelievers (Jews and Christians). Until islam goes thru a reformation it will never be free of the hate in which muhammed preached.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  6. kbnj

    When did any Muslim, anywhere, apologize for 911? I must have missed that.

    I'm sure most Muslims are peaceful, and shouldn't have to apologize for 911or any other terrorism any more than a Christian should apologize for the Crusades. But there are very large groups of Muslims both here and around the world who have shown their will to kill us, or at least go into the streets cheering when their brethren do. That, sir, IS disgusting. Maybe you should use your influence to figure that little puzzle out, rather than telling Muslims to do what they've been doing all along; not apologizing.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  7. Victoria

    "Don’t rely on some cherry-picked crackpot interpretation of the Muslim holy book"??? I am tired of hearing that it is a matter of "interpretation". I think that if millions of women suffer such brutal treatment around the world and thousands of people become radical or terrorists, you should grab a pen and write again some of the awful passages of what you call "The Holy Book". I don't speak Arab but I m sure it must be rich enough to make a difference between burying a woman alive and respecting and cheering her, or between respecting other beliefs, and calling to kill the infidels in the name of god... Again, there must be a reason why this only happens to Muslims and not to Buddhists or Christians, so stop claiming that this is a matter of misinterpretation and do something about it!

    September 20, 2011 at 7:57 am |
  8. cj

    911 was an inside job anyways why waste time chasing ghosts

    September 20, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • John Tressel

      cj
      I invite you to my neighborhood and after a few weeks you may just think in another manner.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:38 am |
    • hawken

      Get a life dude.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  9. John Tressel

    I live in France in a muslim neighborhood. I have a few muslim friends. My wife and I have been beaten on multiple occassions and it was never an issue of theft! At least half and probably most of the attacks were by muslims. I hear the rhetoric that Islam is peaceful but somehow I don't understand when I compare what I hear to what we have lived. I am a pastor and not violent by nature. The whole of this debate is not very convincing. I am saddened by what we have lived through. Can people understand that???

    September 20, 2011 at 5:39 am |
  10. keith

    Muslims are NOT the victims!!! I suggest people who feel pity for the muslim community try living as a Christian in any number of muslim countries if they want to learn what persecution is. Again, a second-rate muslim "comedian" sings the "victim song", The fact is that non muslims are being murdered by "peace-loving" muslims on a daily basis. Most of us who see problems with islam and its rather violent adherents are significantly brighter than apologists like Mr Rizzo As a point of interest "Sickofdumb", please let us know where people of any non-muslim faith have recently committed mass murder on a group of people for the reason that they are not of the "right" religion. You will probably try and use the attack in Norway as an example, however the motives of the gunman were not religious and therefore the example is not valid. Every attack carried out by muslims is based on islam. We managed to separate church and state and solved many problems- the mohammedans cannot and are creating problems on a daily basis.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:25 am |
  11. KS

    This is how Rome was overrun. Just as gradual, too.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  12. Frank Rizzo

    Muslims need to stand up against the religious bigots of the American and European Societies and tell to $crew off seriously lol. And besides 911 be heinous crime think about the lowlife criminals that Hijacked their Religion, Hey Muslims I feel your pain stay strong People this too will come to pass.

    Today it's the Muslims tomorrow it could be YOU! Enough Said........lol

    September 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • hawken

      Muslims need to stand up to the radicals in their own religion, not the Americans or Europeans who are just telling the truth. F islam

      September 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  13. Muneef

    Quran Sura 49;

    The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.(10)

    O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.(11)

    O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.(12)

    O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.(13)

    September 19, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  14. Sane

    Why is it that muslims expect everyone else to say that the poor muslims are treated poorly by society when the same argument can be made that it is ony by a few people. It is plain and simple, Non-muslims around the world should demand that Churches and temples be allowed to be built in Mecca......oh I forgot ....non-muslims are not even allowed to enter.
    Muslims/Islam have a rule, they want everyone they can possibly change by hook or crook, to convert to Islam BUT if a muslim converts to another religion, he should be killed. These people lack simple logic.
    And NO muslims do not need to aoplogize but when the government catches muslims and jails them for suspected terrorism, they need to shut up and not cry discrimination. It is due to that support that everyone thinks they are terrorists.
    II speak Urdu, and if anyone heard what many muslims living in the west have to say about white women, they would hate the muslims more.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Frank Rizzo

      Muslims dont need your piety, they you get educated and maybe one day you'll truly understand their way of life.....just saying...

      September 19, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Sane

      To Frank: I grew up among Muslims (in fact they were a majority) so I don't need your advise. You are the one who does not understand. While they (Muslims and other "Arab" origin religions) will tell you not to insult their god and Prophet, they have no problem being vile towards unbelievers and Idol worshippers.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • John Briffaux

      Frank you are quite naive and you need to open your eyes. You are correct when say that the muslims do not need our pity. But because of muslim terrorists attacking innocent people be it 9/11, be it London bombing, be it madrid bombing, be attacks in Mumbai, be the multiple attacks in muslim countries, the cowardly attacks in markets, schools, mosques...just open a news paper and you will see that every single day there is an attack on innocent people. Look how muslims are acting with this Palestinian statehood. Some said that if European countries go against this vote for Palestinian statehood that there would be terror acts in europe. This threatning is what makes most of us not trust and have huge doubts on the muslim world. What is the muslim community doing about that...NOTHING. They stay quiet. You sir need to educate yourself. You sir need to do something to better the image in our (non muslim) minds and not the contrary. The world has had enough of this way of using violence to get your way. If you cannot respect us then yes you will see a bigger divide. Btw we in Europe don't take the Israeli side, but we will not take the muslim side until you stop the terror.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  15. Cody

    Has anyone thought of god as a "childrens tale"?As children we are told about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy the Easter Bunny and all that good sense.But as we get older we realise"wait...a chubby old jolly man makes toys for all the boys and girls in the world and delivers them all to them at night....That cant be true because first off you cant possibly do that in one night an reindeer cant fly."than it goes like this.Either you catch your parent taking your tooth and putting money under you or you realise"wait....a magical fairy takes my tooth and gives me money....no way"and of course our old pal the easter bunny.If you really think about it you see what im getting at.We are raised to believe in an all powerfull creator that loves us but never reveals himself and gives us everything we see around us...THINK just THINK how is that possible...Why do you think flying reindeer are impossible but and invisible ruler is all too real?Just use your head and reason with yourself.If you are intelligent and stop blindly running in the dark with bull-headed faith you will realise...there is no god.... Thank you for reading Cheers

    September 19, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • jbrl

      The subconscious mind prevents the conscious mind from thinking through it because the implications are frightening and disturbing.

      "all that we love vanishes
      what more to say is there than that'

      to say the human condition without God is poignant is an understatement.

      Much better to believe that Jesus rose from the dead or that Muhammed had a flying horse-like creature named Baraqa that flew him to Jerusalem and that he is in Paradise now.
      There is too much pain sometimes in thinking otherwise – I can more than sympathize

      September 19, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • jack

      Thank you Cody. I know it is going to be very difficult for 90% of the world's but the truth will set you free

      September 20, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  16. ryan

    I find it sad that instead of honoring the actual victims of 911, Muslims want to portray themselves as the victims.... this is all an agenda. Christians are constantly reminded of abuses committed 900 years ago... but we are not allowed to remind muslims of what they did 10 years ago. By the way...NO muslim organization officially condemned 911 until after MUCH political pressure...why did they want to build a mosque on the site...and name it Cordoba, which is what they renamed the capital of Spain after raping and murdering there way through it 1000 years ago...

    September 19, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  17. JOhn Sharp

    Religion has caused just about every war in history! All religions stink! Why can't we just believe in God and pray to ourselves instead of going to a church and getting all fired up listening to some hell raiser over nothing. All religions suck!

    September 19, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  18. Sickofdumb

    So many people scared and hateful toasted your fellow Americans because of their religion!! Sad and pathetic!! Claiming that all "good" Muslims should take responsibility for the extremists??? So what are all you good so called Christians (which all the Catholics I know are hypocrites in everyday) doing to stop the extremists of your own religion.?? Probably not a damn thing!

    September 19, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  19. bruceben9

    the problem aman, is the mostly silent so called moderates condemnation of that act. what do expect others to think when the vast majority of muslims are not speaking out to condemn this garbage as you just did with this article. i have not followed your career so tell us how long did it take you to publicly condemn that horrific act.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  20. Dan

    You think Nickleback are terrorist?

    September 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
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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.