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. Fool Detector

    Muslim terrorists are simply following the plan given them. The word "peace" means something totally different to a Muslim than it does to non-Muslims.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • Paulwisc

      Like you actually know anything at all about Islam and Muslims. All you know are your own sick prejudices. You're an ignorant and hate-filled fool.

      September 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Muneef

      Surprised you did not detect your self!

      September 22, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  2. Crusader

    I don't care if you apologise i just want you to leave. Your murderous ideology is incompatible with America. Have a nice day... Actually don't have a nice day. May the rest of your days be miserable, invader.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • E.S.

      Are you for real, 'Your murderous ideology is incompatible with America' what rock have you crawled from under. America just murdered a man very likely to be innocent in Georgia. America has murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere. I would venture to say murderous ideology is absolutely compatible with America, as a matter of fact throughout history, America has probably been the most forceful proponent of a murderous ideology of all countries and faiths! Here's hoping you and idiots like you never have a nice day again you miserable 'crusader.'

      September 22, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Cocopuf

      In fact, it is incompatable with all OTHER religions in this Earth (period)

      September 22, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Paulwisc

      Cocopuf is incompatible with logic and reason.

      September 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  3. LookingforHonesty

    I have read the Quran, and it is hands-down, the scariest thing I have ever read! Nearly every page is filled with words of hate, distrust and violence towards Christians, and especially, Jews. It is interesting how Muslims always try to promote their religion as peaceful, but rarely ever show examples to display it. The fact is, the religion itself only promotes that "peace" to other Muslims.The moderates within the religion (praise Allah for them!) are trying to find a balance between the actual Koranic teaching and the modern world, but they are probably just as much infidels as Christians and Jews. But it MUST be them that changes, not only the perception of Islam, but the religion itself (think Protestant Reformation). Only then will the faults that lie within be recognized and dealt with.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  4. Den

    > But I didn’t do it. Neither did 99.999999999 percent of the roughly 1.5 billion people

    The guy can't even count. 99.999999999% of 1.5 billion people is EXACTLY SAME 1.5 billion people. So according to him, planes weren;t flown by Muslims. Got it?

    September 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • skarphace

      Bottom line: I refuse to apologize for something that I had nothing to do with, and I would never ask you to apologize for something that you had nothing to do with.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  5. ralk

    All moslems need to continue to apologize for for happen on 9/11.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • skarphace

      I couldn't disagree more.

      If a random Muslim person came up to me and apologized for 9/11, I would look at him very strangely and say "So you had something to do with the events of 9/11?" If he said "No", I would say "Then you have absolutely nothing to apologize for."

      This whole idea that all Muslims are guilty by association for the events of 9/11 is ludicrous. Stop apologizing indeed; those who had nothing to do with 9/11 should never have apologized in the first place.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  6. Muneef

    Wonder what does that mean and if it is being applied in such situation?!

    September 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • Muneef

      "Every object persists in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it".

      "Force is equal to the change in momentum (mV) per change in time for a constant mass, force equals mass times acceleration."
      F=m a
      "For every action, there is an equal and opposite  re-action."

      September 21, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  7. Jose M. Pulido

    Even though the only way to salvation of the soul for eternal life is through Jesus Christ, as it written in the Bible 600 years before pedophile and child molester Mohammed came to disturb and confuse them, Islamists will never allow Christian churches to be built in their God forsaken countries. Islamists fear Jesus Christ because He is the Way the Truth, the Life and the Son of God; Jesus is not a regular human neither a pedophile stand up prophet like Mohammed.
    If Islamists really had faith in their ideology, they would allow Christian churches to be built and Christianity to be taught in Arab/Muslim countries to prove that Islam would prevail against it; but Muslims know their Islamic ideology does not stand a chance against Christianity, that is why they do not allow it in their countries.
    Islamists have been losers since the beginning. Ishmael was not in ancestral lineage of the Messiah, Esau was abhorred by God for neglecting his inheritance, then Esau marries the daughter of Ishmael, Then, their descendants chose to follow child molester Mohamed instead of Jesus Christ; therefore, Islamist are messed up and the only way to break their vicious circle of rejection by God and by many nations of the world, is to embrace Jesus and accept Him as their savior. No one is going to put them under the threat of being beheaded if they do not accept Jesus as their savior. Mohammed beheaded all those who so rightfully rejected the Islamist ideology. But Jesus does not want anyone to accept Him by force or under duress

    September 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  8. James

    Also i find it interesting that you kept pretty much apologizing throughout the article yourself!! You kept saying "oh i'm not rying to be insensitive, my heart goes to the 911 victims, etc etc" you said that many times, Don't you get it, you are already being "apologetic" ! haha i laugh

    September 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  9. stu gotz

    I certainly do not blame all Muslims for the attacks carried out by a handful of idiotic zealots and was profoundly offended when a Hindu friend took some verbal flack after the attacks. His defensive remarks of "I hate Muslims too" is only funny ten years later. I was, however very disappointed when on 9/12, several Islamic celebrities and athletes spoke out in the media with the "don't persecute us, woe is us". My issue with those statements (not to mention seeing images of dancing in the streets in Detroit as well as abroad) is that none of the pleas were accompanied by these words "We utterly condemn the actions by the cowards who have twisted the very core of our religious beliefs and have brought shame onto all of us". These NBA players and celebs, just instantly and selfishly played the victim card within hours of one of the darkest moments of this Nation's history. Shameful.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  10. James

    i never heard about Muslims apologizing for 911 , don't know where you are living, infact most muslims i know are in your face about 911. Wasn't it proved to be an inside job anyway o_O

    September 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  11. Muneef

    As it seems all will be in the picture to the smallest detail and no one will be able to escape questioning if joined any demonstrations;

    Gigapixel Technology…!!!


    September 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  12. Kevin

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

    I am truly, deeply and most humbly sorry.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  13. Bill

    When did they start?

    September 21, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  14. Persio

    All I'm gonna say is that I'll never forget what happened on 9/11 nor will I forget who did that. I also know that there are many many people out there hiding in mosque pretending to be of peace but planning to cause harm to innocent people around the world. I read half your article and stopped reading, had no further interest in what you had to say. Maybe u should stick with comedy.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:34 am |
  15. charlie

    Apologise? When did that happen? I must have missed that one. I also must have missed the massive amount of Muslim charitable organisations assisting with the injured and displaced people in NY after the 9/11 attacks. I must have also missed the support from the Muslim world in the capture of Osama bin Laden. I think that I also missed the rallies for the 10th anniversary in honor of the victims. Unfortunately, all I saw was dancing in the street in the Muslim world on the day of the attacks. I also saw a Saudi businessman have his charitable check returned because he told the US that they should "learn" from the incident. As a matter of fact, I saw a lot of Muslim leaders tell Americans that they should "learn" from the incident. I have also seen a lot of Western guilt about Islamaphobia. At this point, I should clarify that I do not hold the Muslim world responsible for 9/11. 9/11 is the fault of poor leadership in the Middle East and scare-mongering by religious leaders in their last attempt to hold onto to power over their people. 9/11 is the result of prejudicism in its purest form. Should anyone apologise for it? Only those that participate in the fostering and creating such prejudicism even after they witness its evil results. The truth is that this prejudicism exists even through today. There are still bombings and kidnappings and murders happening ten years later.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • Bill

      Totally Agree.

      September 21, 2011 at 6:55 am |
  16. Manaf

    If we think that Muslims should apologise for 9/11 even today, Jews and Christians should be aplologising Muslims almost everyday for what is happening everyday around the world. And muslims should be aplologising many everyday for what is happening everyday. I only see two kinds terrorists in the world. One which goes with a religious label and the one which goes with a political label. both claim they are right and they are defending. Peopel who dye everyday are pure innocent people who have nothing to do with any of these charactors. Syria, USA, Israle, Yemen, UK, France, Germany, Taliban, Al Qaida, LTTE, rebels, extremists who kiill others are all in the category of TERRORISTS. I will need more than one page to list all the Terrorists in the world. Some are target killings and some are planned and well executed killings. I WILL NOT APOLOGISE ANYONE AND I DON'T HAVE TO UNTIL I TAKE A GUN IN MY OWN HAND (BUT I NEVER WILL).

    September 21, 2011 at 3:08 am |
  17. Joe Hadenuff

    Americans Should Stop Apologizing To Muslims AND ALWAYS BLAME FISLAM FOR 9/11.

    Allowing FIslam into America is akin to injecting yourself with AIDS to prove how "tolerant" you are.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:20 am |
  18. Seriously

    Why groups such as the ISNA and the MPAC are still condemning 9/11 is because they tend to not condemn any other terrorist attack in the world. For instance, the ISNA has been officially connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization, you know, the one that is about to takeover Egypt, says that they wish all Jews to be dead, and spawned Hamas? Or how about MPAC, whose president was arrested for lying about his citizenship and selling terrorist goods to Libya while Gaddhafi was still in charge? No? Maybe you don't remember that. Why do Muslims still apologize for 9/11, because ones that are against terrorism are few and far between...and that statistically, 90% of all terroist attacks in the world are by Muslim extremists, and even more surprisingly, they are against other Muslims. So yes, they should still be apologizing, and moreover, condemning EVERY SINGLE TERRORIST ATTACK by taking a stance against terror. It should start by calling to account two groups you listed above, MPAC and the ISNA

    September 21, 2011 at 1:48 am |
  19. Scott

    I'm a white guy. I'm tired of being asked to apologize for slavery. I never owned a slave, and you never were one. I'm sorry white Europeans conquered this country through force and deception. I didn't do that, either. I get this. Still, if muslims want me to speak out a little louder about the injustice committed by my government throughout the world, I guess that's fair ina democracy, but it would be nice to hear louder condemnation of terrorists from Arab leaders instead of oh, the horror! wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • Evn

      The guilt of our ancestors nonsense is really old and sillly, but that doesn't stop a lot of people who feel victimized from blaming generations that have nothing to do with the affront at issue.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  20. Vic

    The quran says mohammad will return with jesus to destroy all infidels (non muslims) and jews, is that right? Dear author next time you challenege others to pick up a quran intrigue the reader in why they should go read the quran by perhaps maybe quoting a surah that speaks of peace pertaining to believers of the muslim doctrine and non believers to really convince that the quran doesn't speak of killing in the name of allah, because a whole lot of muslims believe it does and they are sure speaking louder than you are with your cute article, what translation are you reading the sugar coated translation? I'll give you one from the Holy Bible found in Matthew 5:43-45: "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous". Anyone that can be considered an enemy, Christian or not, Jesus calls all men to love. Is their a similar aya in the quran? i think not!

    September 21, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • james

      the quran says a lot of things but most of what it says is what most of us would agree with: recognize God for who He is and take care of the marginalized (he who does not help the poor is an animal). Vic – our country has told us time and time again that the author of this article is our enemy – so love Mr. Aman Ali. Defending your country and attacking his religion will make you feel better but it doesn't seem to follow the verse you quoted.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:02 am |
    • skarphace

      Well said, James.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Fool Detector

      The life of Mohamed is filled with his intolerance of non-believers and examples of his violence against them. The Koran is filled with intolerance, violence, hatred and the oppression of non-believers and women. Sharia Law is filled with the oppression of non-believers through violence, construction codes, and taxation. Muslim terrorists are simply following the plan given them. The word "peace" means something totally different to a Muslim than it does to non-Muslims.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Vic

      @james, How am I hating Mr. Ali? if i was to see him i would by him a cup of coffee sit down and perhaps discuss his points of view concerning the quran maybe he can shed some light on some issues. Expressing my view on the quran does not consist in hating the man. What i can't express enough is in how displeased I'am with is the mechanism (islam) that is being used to destroy.

      September 30, 2011 at 5:46 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.