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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. Cocopuf

    LOL ... Few, if any, have "really" apologized for 9/11 ... The opposite wouldn't surprise me.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • skarphace

      The opposite of 'few, if any' is 'many, or most'. Therefore, it wouldn't suprise you if many, or most have "really" apologized for 9/11?

      September 22, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  2. Ariely

    THE FOULS PARADE! Will they ever learn?
    ------------------
    1: France sheltered Humainy while he was preaching against Iran Shah.
    Result: Islamist Iran standing against democracy,human rights,liberalism.
    Preparing to impose Shia type Islam worldwide- including NUKS.

    2: USA helps unconditionally the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat USSR.
    USA didn’t take seriously the Islamist and Taliban" fight all infidels' worldwide" agenda.
    Result:? Well you know it!

    3:Presidednt Bush demanded democratic election in Gaza and Lebanon without banning Islamist ideologies using terror.
    Result: Islamist terror organization –Hamas and Hisbulla are in power.

    4:NATO helped the Libyan insurgents without questioning their ideology.
    Result: Islamist rules will be imposed in Libya.
    El Qaida activist have been seen among rebels leaders.

    5:Obama leads the free world to legitimize the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt,Tunis,Syria.
    Muslim brotherhood leaders declared that:
    *Osama Ben Laden was a Muslim martyr
    *Hitler didn’t finish the job- The Muslims will finish
    *Christians will not be allowed in management government position on top of Muslims
    *A counsel of clerics will monitor and impose that the elected government will follow Islam law-Sharia
    *Woman will follow Islamic home duties
    * Muslims can come closer to Allah by waging jihad against all non-Muslims,Christians,Jews, atheists, in every possible manner.
    Result? Scenario- ME Islamist = Taliban*40

    6: The free world has committed to help Arab countries with multi milliards $.
    However they didn’t required parties preaching for anti western values and militant actions and terror against the all non Muslim world to take part in the democratic system!

    ****** Foul me one-shame on you; Foul me twice shame on me ******

    How many times the west will be fouled by Islamist?
    Remember:
    The Nazi get to power in free election!
    Don’t repeat Chamberlin

    September 20, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  3. to muneef from vocasound

    yes your opinion is well placed, but as one of many individuals on this list of opinions, my opinion is no better then what others my place here. world hardship can be a concern, politics were thought to fix these economic situations but with no co-operation things cannot be done. we as people try to voice our opinions to those seen as bigger then use those with actual power. politicians had responsibilties but there will always be some form of disagreement. same goes for these opinions.
    these opinions are ours to type and for others to agree, disagree, or comment.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  4. Jose M. Pulido

    SAULBLOOMBERG: You must be one of those Islamist psychopath losers (since Esau) who will go to hell for being such a murderers and for not believeing in Jesus Christ, The Son od God who offers humankind the only way to heaven for eternal life; and he said that 600 years before pedophile and child-molester Mohammed came to the world to deceive confuse all those poor fools who believe in him

    September 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • Sam

      If you are a true believer, why would care about others' belief?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  5. Bill

    for everyone thats saying that muslims did not condemn 9/11...
    http://www.mediamonitors.net/riadabdelkarim3.html

    September 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  6. Bill

    http://www.mediamonitors.net/riadabdelkarim3.html

    September 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  7. Glenn

    I find the holy writings (bible or quran) to be ambiguous and open to interpretation. It's the only explanation I can give for all the varied views and denominations.
    Let's not criticize all Muslims for their religion. Not even for the single acts of one day in September.They should be critizised for the state of their countries of origin. For the political and social structures which create terrorists and allow them to wonder free and set up schools to teach their own young these behaviours. They should be critized for their inability to maintain a civilized society throughout much of the world. Obvisously many want peace and a better life. Why else do they come to the West ? Not for freedom.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      The Quran is not a holy book, it is the manual to destroy the world by the sword and any other means; if anything, its pages may be good as toilet paper.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  8. jose Rosales

    Im a bit confounded I have never heard any muslim apologize for the 9/11attacks sure they talk about it being a terrible act and a distortion of Islam fostered by a sizable fundamentalist muslim group but I have never heard a muslim leader apologize for the terrorist attacks that left a sizable scar on our country. If anything Im still hoping muslim leaders apologize for and lead a more vocal refutation of the extremism that has led some individuals to murder innocent people.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Babalooba

      You are so right!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • vocasonar

      Individual muslims might not be enough, but someone such as a world leader of a middle eastern country were to apologize, would that apology be well excepted by Americans?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • Ali Shahin

      Jose, Do the hispanic groups ever apologize for Fidel Castro? 9/11 was done by a group of 19 nutcases, 16 of which were Saudi Arabia. The other 3 were also from the Persian Gulf States. Did we attack Saudi Arabia? NO, Did we put Sanction on Saudi Arabia? NO. So what did we do? We attacked Iraq. It is like attacking Spain for the drug war we have with Mexico.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  9. Sid

    herbert juarez is a spineless coward.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  10. Vocasound

    people with anger or a need to belittle against others of a different faith or nationality fuels hate using grief. 9/11 was a trageady, America has been laden with grief for lost love ones. those who died will always be remebered. but we as Americans can't use grief, sadness, or the excuse to blame a single culture for the wrong doings of ill mind individuals.
    this is the 21st century, the examples of the past that exceed far beyond this modern age into that of anicent times should be left in the history books.
    I state my opinion as is. take time to understand what is good with this world.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Muneef

      Vocasound.

      The world going heading from here 21 century backward to lesser centuries....so better you start your counting down since the whole world suffering and crashing down economically,financially,politically, it is a world failure...is a head sooner than expected....!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  11. Muneef

    To the "Evil One"

    To Believe or Disbelieve;
    Why would these Quran verses be here if Muslims are supposed to kill disbelievers for being by what is known by "Infidels/Polytheists/Pagans,etc.."
    Read the verses to see that each can worship or believe or disbelieve what they want in "Freedoms of Beliefs & The Mutual understanding of Live and Let Live"...! Any one telling otherwise could means how much people are far from the Quran teachings or misunderstanding... This Sura was a Call for a Multi-cultured Colors living together as an integrated Nation..All was there was to pay annual dues to the "The Islamic Treasury"Al-Geziah" which was to be paid by the non Muslims just as form of an annual Tax similar to that which was applied on Muslims annually in the name of "Zakat of Wealth" to the "Islamic Treasury" which in return was developing the land/people and assisted their "Poor and Needy" of all those nationals within the land...!

    It wouldn't be fair if Muslim was only to pay the annual Islamic treasury dues (Zakat)..!? And since Zakat is not applicable to non Muslims then there was another different name that serves the same purpose called "Al-Geziah"...!! Based on this understanding and submission, the Islamic Multi culture empires were built and ruled continents rather than countries...

    Surat Al-Kāfirūn (The Disbelievers) – Sura 109. 1 to 6 verses by Sahih International 
    Surat Al-Kāfirūn (The Disbelievers) -(Sura 109)

    Say, "O disbelievers,(01)
    I do not worship what you worship.(02)
    Nor are you worshippers of what I worship.(03)
    Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship.(04)
    Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.(05)
    For you is your religion, and for me is my religion."(06)
    http://quran.com/109
    ------

    Still we find that Islam is open to integrate with Multi Culture meeting people of all beliefs although each has own religion or belief...;

    Surat Al-Ĥujurāt (The Rooms) -109:

    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)
    ---
    They consider it a favor to you that they have accepted Islam. Say, "Do not consider your Islam a favor to me. Rather, Allah has conferred favor upon you that He has guided you to the faith, if you should be truthful."(17)

    Indeed, Allah knows the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Seeing of what you do.(18)

    September 20, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • Babalooba

      you are full of it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      September 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  12. sam bird

    lets be clear, the qoran yells for the christians and jews to burn, and not the crazy version- just the real one.
    and let me remind you that 1% of 1.5 billion is still TEN MILLION CRAZY MUSLIMS. and lets be real- its more then 1% . so if you want to sugar coat islam go ahead, but you might want to wake up.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  13. TB

    The authors words: "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". As he blatantly admits, he is not going to condemn them. American moslems never did, and that is the problem. They are unwilling to take a stand against mass murder when it is committed by a fellow moslem. This author is, by his own words, convicting himself and laying bare just what the problem always was with moslems in american, still is, and always will be. "shocked and horrified"? Maybe. But go the next step and condemm the murderers? Never. Because the murderers are moslem, they will never be condemened by other moslems. Moslems like this man will be the first to jump up and scream "atrocity" if a stray American bomb lands on the wrong house. But condemn this intentional mass murder of civilians, some of whom also moslems? Never. What a hypocrite.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  14. Abe

    Muslims have never apologized so how would they stop?

    September 20, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  15. TB

    What is the author of this article talking about??? I dont recall hearing a moslem apologize for 9/11. All I heard for a long time was deafening silence. SILENCE. American moslems have been sitting on the fence the whole time, trying to hide behind the "well it wasent ME that did it" cop-out, while refusing to actually condemn the murderers who did it. It was made pretty clear to me where they all stood, and apparently still do.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Babalooba

      I so agree, silence, and no apology.....they do not stand up against the fanatics..are they afraid, or do they sympathize? good post!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  16. Oliver

    Forget apologizing, rather Muslims should stand up against this, so called, minority of Muslims that conduct terrorist acts. Stand up like real men and women instead of hiding behind the idea you had nothing to do with it. Are you part of the Muslim community or not? Problem is they will likely kill you too if you speak up – you will be accused of being a bad Muslim according to the Koran. This is the problem; you have to fight to save your religion that promotes violence against “non-believers.” Be a man like Luther was. What Islam needs is a Reformation. Another problem is all the Muslim leaders today promote or allow the violence, they don’t stop it because it would be anti-Islamic. Yes, G-d/ All-h will judge you; people that do nothing are just as guilty!

    September 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  17. Jose M. Pulido

    Islam, the cancer of the world; it needs some chemotherapy and radiation on such cancerous cells before they destroy every free country of the world.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  18. Jose M. Pulido

    "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," the author wrote.
    Those are two very stupid comparison to the premeditated murder of 2700 Ameriaans by Arab-Muslim-Islamic terrorists on 911. Only a Muslim would make such a cynical and stupid comparison because they have no conscience...just like a psychopath.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • SAULBLOOMBERG

      go to hell julio (hoolio)

      September 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • SAULBLOOMBERG

      WATCH LOOSE CHANGE ON YOUTUBE

      September 20, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      SAULBLOOMBERG: You must be one of those Islamist psychopath losers (since Esau) who will go to hell for being such a murderers and for not believeing in Jesus Christ, The Son od God who offers humankind the only way to heaven for eternal life; and he said that 600 years before pedophile and child-molester Mohammed came to the world to deceive confuse all those poor fools who believe in him.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  19. snoylnairb

    I do not hate anybody, but I am not going to be pushed around by people who want to kill me just for being me.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Muneef

      Guess you can be what you want to be but only stay away from blasphemy to people's beliefs and have to exchange some mutual respect and i am sure you will be fine because you will not give a chance for any brainwashed extreme lunatic to jump your neck finding you an excuse Sacrificing your soul for reserving a space in heavens....!! We have such as those and you find them in every religion and sector of any religion... Such as those would consider any moderate Muslim as infidel if he does not comply with the brainwashed ideas they have...

      September 20, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  20. snoylnairb

    I have listened to my last peace loving muslim story. The only reason the muslims are living in peace here in America is because they do not have the numbers to assert themselves. As you can see the freedom level in countries run by Muslims is very low. As they move in and assert themselves they will push their belief system on to all of us. Do not be fooled they are not interested in living in peace with any of us. Convert submit or die will be our options unless we resist them now.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • SAULBLOOMBERG

      WHEN WE RULED THE WORLD THERE WAS PEACE, LOOK AT WHO RULES THE WORLD NOW , DO YOU SEE PEACE???? CRUSADERS, ZIONIST, REMEMBER THEM??????

      September 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Muneef

      I thought since 1991 Only Corruptions and Bribes Ruled the World....!

      September 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Babalooba

      I so agree. Here in Montreal, during the past 2 years, there has been an explosion of Islam...so many women wearing the scarf...10 times more than in the past..seams almost as a defiant gesture. They are tearing down churches and converting them to condos, while mosques are appearing in strip malls...I fear the future, because they do not conform to our way of life....don't eat our food, don't visit our theatres, don't drink alcohol, don't wear our clothes, but yet are taking over in numbers!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      Saulslumlord: Go to hell, just like yout fellow Islamist murderers of 911.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:16 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.