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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. Hockeyn109

    I have not heard too many muslims apologizing for 9/11.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Osama

      true, but how many times do people ask us to?

      September 23, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Barbara a Muslim

      You just have to look....

      http://kurzman.unc.edu/islamic-statements-against-terrorism

      September 23, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Ed

      You should not have to ask mass murders to appologize. But then again, you have nothing to appologize for do you. Quran says to kill non-believers. Your own profit said spread islam by the sword. He murdered women and childern too. Was a pediphile as well, 14yo wife I believe was the oldest one. So you have nothing to be sorry for. And when someone drops a nuke on mecca I won't appologize either, party time!

      September 26, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  2. Muneef

    Our leader was back today and hope that improve situation back here....

    September 23, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  3. wbn

    I don't remember hearing many Muslims apologize for 9/11. However, Muslims should always stand ready to condemn such actions of terrorists identifying themselves with Islam, just as Christians should regarding some loon claiming to follow the Bible when he or she kills an abortion provider or protests the funeral of a fallen military member. Of course, the problem Muslims have is that of many Islamic religious leaders around the globe applauding 9/11 or the proposed destruction of Israel, and the fact that many of these would advocate the destruction of other Muslims who do not agree with them.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  4. Muneef

    One Line Humor  
    [1] Regular naps prevent old age, especially if you take them while driving.  
     
    [2] Having one child makes you a parent; having two you are a referee.  
     
    [3] Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right and the other is the husband! 
     
    [4] I believe we should all pay our tax with a smile. I tried – but they wanted cash.  
     
    [5] A child's greatest period of growth is the month after you've purchased new school uniforms.  
     
    [6] Don't feel bad. A lot of people have no talent.  
     
    [7] Don't marry the person you want to live with, marry the one you cannot live without,
     
         but whatever you do, you'll regret it later.  
     
    (8] You can't buy love, but you pay heavily for it.  
     
    [9] Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.    
     
    [10] Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.   
     
    [11] Marriage is give and take. You'd better give it to her or she'll take it anyway.    
     
    [12] My wife and I always compromise. I admit I'm wrong and she agrees with me.    
     
    [13] Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others.   
     
    [14] Ladies first. Pretty ladies sooner.  
     
    [15] A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.  
     
    [16] You're getting old when you enjoy remembering things more than doing them.  
     
    [17] It doesn't matter how often a married man changes his job, he still ends up with the same boss.  
     
    [18] Real friends are the ones who survive transitions between address books.  
     
    [19] Saving is the best thing. Especially when your parents have done it for you.  
     
    [20] Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something  
     
    [21] They call our language the mother tongue because the father seldom gets to speak!    
     
    [22] Man: Is there any way for long life?
     
       Dr: Get married.
     
       Man: Will it help?
     
       Dr: No, but then the thought of long life will never come.
     
    [23] Why do couples hold hands during their wedding? It's a formality just like two boxers shaking hands before the fight begins!
     
    [24] Wife: Darling today is our anniversary, what should we do? Husband: Let us stand in silence for 2 minutes.  
     
    [25] It's funny when people discuss Love Marriage vs Arranged. It's like asking someone, if suicide is better or being murdered. 
     
    [26] There is only one perfect child in the world and every mother has it.  
     
    [27] There is only one perfect wife in the world and every neighbor has it!

    September 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  5. Pepsiman

    Muslims should not apologize for 9/11 because Muslims did not commit 9/11.

    Terrorists did. Everything about 9/11 was against Islam.

    September 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  6. Kate

    I am Catholic. I have never molested a child, but I am deeply sorry that members of my church violated their vows and common decency in a way that irreparably harmed the lives of so many innocent victims. I do apologize for it. I will always apologize for it and I am eager to discuss with people how my church is handling the problem and working to prevent it in the future.

    Is it unreasonable that I would want Muslims to make sure their mosques have programs in place to identify and rid themselves of those who would willfully harm others. Get of the defensive and be willing to tell or show people how your mosque is handling the valid concerns.

    September 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • Muneef

      Am not sure why should you apologize for some thing you did not do nor that your religion says that how it should be!? If any one to apologize are the one's who had done that or kept a blind eye to it happening but not by all the nation of that religion...!
      We as Muslims have heard that some who are like yours did have some thing towards children but if were found out they are condemned and dismissed from what they were taking care of...beside such things you are not just fear for children at church only but rather every where even in your own house from baby sitters and relatives whether males or females...!

      September 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
  7. Muneef

    They say like "a Drowning Man would do or a Bankrupting Man would do to save his life" did the masters of far visions to make a change and conquer the world rather than being tied with agreements and protocols that tie him from intervention in every single thing and monopoly like...!

    All is possible every thing is possible and wouldn't doubt if it turned to be a joint conspiracy each serves his interests and his forsighted agenda...! ?

    September 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  8. Peter

    I'm sorry that Americans have not woke up to the truth. 9/11 was a devious attack on America by Americans. The Project for a New American Century is at fault! Members like Chenney, Libby, the Bushs, and others put this plan together to get the oil in Iraq. Religion is always the gateway into war. It's eazier to say, "these Muslim terrorist attacked us so we need to get them" than "Ii'm greed and I want oil, let's go get it." I hope more people educate themselves about WTC 1,2,7, and the Pentagon. Thermite was found in the dust and building 7 collapsed with no plane. Jet fuel does not burn hot enough to melt steel, yet molten steel was found days after. Architects and Engineers for a 9/11 Truth is a great group!

    September 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Just a guy

      You sound like that Iranian President. (The holocaust never happened either....)

      September 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  9. Jack

    I agree with the author. Muslims should stop apologizing for 9/11 and move ahead. There are plenty of events since then to apologize for such as Fort hood, attack on a Jewish center in Seattle, Arkansas military recruiting center Jihad and the innumberable failed Jihad such as the underpants, shoes, Times Square etc etc.

    September 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Paulwisc

      And still not their fault. It is the fault of the terrorists who acted and those who trained and helped them. Period.

      September 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • aijaz

      hey jack, how about YOU apologize for invading all the muslim countries and all the subversive acts by the CIA over the previous decades in muslim countries! only a few million dead that you treat like it's no big deal. educate yourself on the very real issues. america just about to veto yet another palestinian resolution. guess what, we get the point.. america doesn't give a crap about freedom!

      September 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  10. Erik Hovertsen

    Can't believe these stupid Americans, I've read a couple of comments, and wow, you guys are really stupid in every aspect, dear god........ in 100 years the "normal" ppl will laugh like: "they believe in something behind the clouds", "haha they sure was stupid back then". GL USA, you are a bunch of stupid believers in the Santa Claus(God).
    On topic: Muslims don't believe in Democracy. They don't take place in a Democracy for that reason..

    September 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • U-bad

      Mercedes Benz made a new S500 car and told a dumb driver to test drive it . He crashed the car with in 2 minutes ... Would you say new Mercedes Benz S500 is a bad car because you saw a driver crashing it... Same thing with Islam, bunch of obtuse people are calling themselves true Muslims. It doesn't mean all Muslims are same... Read history Christen, Jews, Hindus had killed more but no one talks about them..

      September 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Jack

      Your comparison with BMW is ridiculous. I agree that it is not the fault of BMW if some insane guy crashes the vehicle. But, if the insane guy was influenced by some idiotic idiology to crash the car, shouldn't we question the idiology?

      September 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  11. No.

    @ES last time I checked, it was the Taliban that is to this day setting off road bombs and suicide bombs killing the innocent in Iraq and Afghanistan. Didn't an Afghani peacekeeper just get murdered in his own home? It wasn't an American who did it. If they acted like civilized human beings maybe the Americans would be gone from there by now – oh wait – maybe we wouldn't of been there in the first place. They can't even be compared to animals. My dog is more civilized.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  12. Muslim Islam

    this is bad, all muslims are bad people they dont like peace they hate peace...... Just teach them how to let peace regin

    September 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Paulwisc

      I guess you don't realize that 99.9% of Muslims in the world do indeed believe in and want to live in peace. They're just like you and me - trying to get along and live their life.

      September 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  13. Just a guy

    I talked to a man raised in Iran. He described how the the supposed .01 perecnt marched 13 Jews out and hung them in the streets just for being Jews. They brought hundreds of kids out of schools and made them watch as they chanted "death to Israel".

    When they ask for voluneteers to strap bombs on to blow up americans, they have to turn away volunteers.

    When Ted Coppel went to a religious training center in Pakistan just a few years ago and asked a well-groomed 12 year old what he wanted to do when he grew up, the kids answer was "I want to kill American's".

    You pretend to be peaceful on the one hand, but condone many, many Mosques that train radicals like the one in Pakistan.

    You got a long way to go to earn our trust and Americans aren't seeing any actions to go with your words.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Another guy

      Do you think the behaviour you're talking about is motivated by faith? Or do you think it's perhaps more of a geo-political issue, what with Israel conquering vast swathes of Arab land in 1967 and more recently, as well as America invading the middle-east at will in the past decade?

      To attribute these things to Islam (an attribution that the author rightly condemns here) is ignorant. There are Muslims in the US, in the United Kingdom, all over mainland Europe, in Indonesia, all over the world in fact. It is the world's largest growing religion, and it preaches PEACE. Try to understand the issues at play here, rather than just assuming that because some Arabs hung some Jews all Muslims behave the same ie. are murdering fundamentalists. My ex-girlfriend is a Turkish/British Muslim who wants to work in the British foreign office. So far as I know, she hasn't murdered anyone recently.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Jack

      @ Another guy....It's surprising you don't see that the connection is motivated by faith. Christians in Iran, Nigeria, Somaila, Egypt, Pakistan etc are being prosecuted and killed by Islamists. Do you see Christians in other countries going on a Jihad? Budhists in Tibet are being prosecuted by the Chinese. Do you see Budhists in Sri Lanka going on a Jihad? Why does a muslim in Pakistan fart if a muslim in Palestine gets indigestion? It is the religion that brings then together and it has nothing to do with any geo political issues. Obviously not every muslim is a terrorist. Fortunately, your ex is one of them (Yet).

      September 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  14. Just a guy

    If you give these .01% of radical muslims a bomb to blow up the whole world, they'd use it in the name of Allah. The other 99.99% need to be penetrating the radical mosques, hunting the radicals down, and taking them out instead of protesting our military trying to do the same. Until you do, consider yourself an accomplice!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Paulwisc

      Where were you when McVeigh was bombing in Kansas City? Why didn't you stop him? By your logic, it is on you personally to do so. Which is why your 'logic' isn't logic at all, but rather bigotry and hate.

      September 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  15. matt

    Basically, as soon as you compared the greatest attack in our nations to history to Nickelback..... ya lost me. I understand the cynicism..... but it's dumb.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Jaime

      Yeah and Nickleback is Canadian anyways. What a stupis comparison. It also makes an article seem less prophetic when the word dumb appears in it.

      September 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  16. W.G.

    Wow , actually trying to laugh off one of the most tragic times in the U.S. . This is the mindset of islam . OK so
    99.999999 did´nt commit this horrible crime , but maybe that´s because you could´nt fit them all on the airplane .
    But while there are a few who openly object to this crime you can bet 99.95 were in support of it . People in the west
    just don´t understand muslims , these servers of satan are capable of anything . Anything !

    September 22, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • E.S.

      It is such a shame that idiots such as yourself are allowed to breathe. You spew your ignorant rant on any topic regarding Islam or Muslims. One can only assume you are uneducated, intoxicated, southern, red neck, ultra religious right wing, jewish, having the I.Q. of toast, or all of the above! I really hope there aren't more like you in the USA.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • W.G.

      To E.S. I am European and honestly have never ever seen a march against islamic terrorism by muslims
      protesting terrorism , have you . NO , because they , all of them , are taught to support it . When the
      Yanks had their 9/11 and we had our London attacks , I never even saw ONE muslim carrying
      signs in protest , did you ?

      September 22, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • S.W.

      @W.G.: I TOTALLY agree with you, as probably do 99.999999999% of Americans.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Cocopuf

      These so called "few" need to be eradicated worldwide with NO excuse for killing indiscriminantly innocent people of all kinds. An eye for an eye is a legitimate option. I also believe that the Bible says so ...

      September 22, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Paulwisc

      You seem to be an especially ignorant European, and you cannot know what all Muslims believe.

      Were you out there carrying signs and marching against the IRA and Baader-Meinhoff? Was anyone? Why not? Your demands are idiotic - no one is responsible for what other people do if they themselves are in no way involved, and they bear no responsibility to do any more than any other person.

      September 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  17. venu

    Mother Teresa
    THE KORAN UNEQUIVOCALLY ASKS MUSLIMS TO KILL YES KILL VERY SINGLE NON BELIEVER. MUSLIMS KILLED YES KILLED 600 MILLION HINDUS AND BUDDHISTS IN INDIA AND WIPED BUDDHISM OFF THE MAP OF INDIA, PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH AND AFGHANISTAN. THE LATTER 3 WERE PROSPEROUS BUDDHISTS NATIONS THAT BECAME 4TH WORLD HELL HOLES AFTER ISLAM TOOK OVER. CNN IS HYPING ISLAM TO APPEASE FARID ZACKARIA BUT THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MORE BARBARIC RELIGION IN HISTORY. AND "MODERATE" MUSLIMS DO NOT REBEL AGAINST JIHADISTS SO THEY DO HAVE A LOT TO APOLOGIZE FOR.

    100 and one percent true what above statement says. Peace will return to Earth only when remaining 99.999999999% muslims are wiped out from this Earth. These remaining 99.9999999999% muslims are actually ticking time bombs, one never knows when those will explode.

    September 22, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • Cocopuf

      There needs to be a radical change in the general muslim world that something better get started by the muslim greater majority or eventually face consequences because of intolerance ... it has already started by the families of those that got killed for inhuman reasons. it is a NO BRAINER if you think about it.
      You just can NOT allow any parts of civilization in our oresent era, in particular, to be intolerant of other "religions" (period)

      September 22, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  18. Mathilda

    Muslims should apologize to all infidels and all women.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Cocopuf

      That will be the day. LOL

      September 22, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  19. Mother Teresa

    THE KORAN UNEQUIVOCALLY ASKS MUSLIMS TO KILL YES KILL VERY SINGLE NON BELIEVER. MUSLIMS KILLED YES KILLED 600 MILLION HINDUS AND BUDDHISTS IN INDIA AND WIPED BUDDHISM OFF THE MAP OF INDIA, PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH AND AFGHANISTAN. THE LATTER 3 WERE PROSPEROUS BUDDHISTS NATIONS THAT BECAME 4TH WORLD HELL HOLES AFTER ISLAM TOOK OVER. CNN IS HYPING ISLAM TO APPEASE FARID ZACKARIA BUT THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MORE BARBARIC RELIGION IN HISTORY. AND "MODERATE" MUSLIMS DO NOT REBEL AGAINST JIHADISTS SO THEY DO HAVE A LOT TO APOLOGIZE FOR.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Muneef

      Every day and Night I pray to Mother Teresa for her efforts and love to the people....I do that every time I got to brush my teeth with a Teresa brand tooth brush...
      Good people should gain our respect what ever their belief was...

      September 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  20. sharky

    Mr Ali,

    I am a white person, I am still supposed to pay for what happened to black slaves. I was not alive then, I don't know of any of my ancestors that owned slaves, I am still made to feel extremely guilty for even being white. So what is your point? 9/11 was 10 years ago, Al Qaeda and Islamic terrorists still exist, threats towards any person daring to say anything bad about Mohammad are still being made, even in the US, black slavery ended in the 1800's. We still have Muslims committing terrorists acts and still threatening this country. I am still waiting for Muslims to actually outloud, Muslims on all levels, to truly go after and take down the terrorists to truly fight hard against Al Qaeda and all other organizations. I am still waiting. When will that happen?

    September 22, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Anita

      I second you on that one....

      September 22, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Jen K

      When, indeed.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • V. P.

      I don't know how slavery and this subject should be mentioned in the same story especially how you're using it. I am black and get strange looks from whites all of the time, like I've stolen something. So get off you high horse, you and your supporters and walk a day in my shoes. OK? I know how a muslim feels to be singlled out due to 9/11, it is not right. 9/11 was totally wrong. But if we'd just listen to one another once in awhile maybe we could make things better. I even understand your point, I just don't agree with how your're trying to tie it in with the muslim situation. Think about it and have a nice day.

      September 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Rizwan

      stop invading muslim lands and killing by the millions. you had one terrorist attack in the US. yes, it was horrendous. it resulted in almost 3k deatlhs and it was an evil act. but what america has done in afghanistan and iraq was vastly worse.

      September 22, 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.