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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. Scott

    "Neither did 99.999999999 percent of the roughly 1.5 billion people in the world who also call themselves Muslims"

    Well definitely SOMEONE in the 99.999999999 percent of Muslims did it because otherwise that would mean no Muslim did it as that many decimals goes to less than one person in 1.5 billion as it means 1 person in 100 billion.

    So you are off by a factor of roughly 100. It is probably safe to say that 99.9999% as that is 1 in 1,000,000 and at 1.5 billion that works out to 150.

    September 28, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • remember the uss liberty

      ISREAL DID 911.

      Dr. Alan Sabrosky of the US army war college came out and said it. the military knows it.

      look at "911 missing links" on youtube

      They will do it again if we don't wake up!

      Muslims are just the patsy, they don't do anything except pray all damn day. they are HARMLESS. Yes, I will say it again so you brain washed arab haters can hear me, they are harmless and Islam is a religion of peace, history proves it.

      the media is 100% lies,

      September 29, 2011 at 1:20 am |
  2. ALS

    Well, that is interesting because apparently a lot of Muslims disagree with this op-ed. According to the Pew Research Center article quoted in this piece, "Nearly half (48%) [of the Muslim respondents] say that Muslim leaders in the United States have not done enough to speak out against Islamic extremists;"

    September 28, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  3. nabiki

    Heh, yeah you probably ought to make white people apologize for Nickleback, now that you mention it.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  4. Teemee

    When dd they start?!?

    September 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
  5. nad

    Prayer Needed for Christians in Indonesia, an apparent suicide bomber killed himself and wounded at least 22 other people in an attack on an Indonesian church on Sunday ....the question here is should the muslims apologize for every bombing or should they actually give up that evil religion once for all.

    September 27, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Muneef

      With religion or with out religion there will always be a reason for the killers to kill....

      During the time of the Irish terrorism acts in London, some people took advantage of that during bad business times by planting explosives to their businesses blowing them up accusing the Irish terrorists to collect their business insurance....

      One ship owner most recently took advantage of the Arabian sea pirates presence to burn his old ship engine room accusing pirates for it just a week before the insurance policy ends to finally collect the insurance amount...

      So see how many take advantage of such fears to fulfill their criminal minded interests ?!?

      September 27, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • umm

      I guess it is Muslims turn to be in the lime light of a Bad religion. It happens and it takes years to get the Leaders that are corrupt out of seat of Power. Iraq Muslims kill each other every day because Sunni and one is Shiite. In the US military some Muslims committed acts of violence. Muslims did many bombings in other countries and in all the name of Islam. So, what do think the world will think of your religion. I know not all Muslims are evil and such but you have some.. It gives the people a general idea of the religion off the bases of a few. Christians back in the middle ages were evil. It takes time for ppl to learn and that you cannot give power to a religion group it is to corrupt.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Muneef

      umm.

      Do you think giving up the religion will stop all that? Well I am not sure it will but rather think matters will be far more worse among all since Islam acts as the leash for this nation but not all respect that because the criminal is a criminal whether he is disguised as religious or political party...

      September 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  6. Proud American Muslim

    Thanks a lot for this article.
    I as a Muslim American love America more than any country in the world. I hate having to explain myself all the time. To my knowledge Islam is basically the same religon as the original Christianty and original Jewdism. Why do we have to focus on the minor differences and not the majority of similarities??
    I have never apoligized for 9/11 but I have felt embarrassed that someone who claimed to be muslim do such a horrific thing. I know I should'nt feel this way because I have nothing to do with it, but I'm just being honest which is hard to do. Because I know REAL Muslims don't do that.
    But then again life is not fair and I have to remind myself that all the time. Thanks again because no one has to apoligize for something they didn't do.
    Something that just came to mind....
    For example: The Virginia massacure that happened a few years ago at a college campus where a Korean man brutally murdered students for no reason... it does not make sence for the korean comm to come out and apoligize for what a mentally ill idiot did.
    I could go on and on but choose not to. . .

    September 27, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • nad

      Speaking of which, muslims should always apologize to that crime all their life.

      September 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  7. Andrea

    THANK GOD!!! Someone else who feels just like I do about that "band"!!!

    September 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  8. christophorm

    Yep ..it was a white guy named larry silverstien that said "He told the good old american fire department" to knock down world Trade Center building # 7 on 9/11...but one problem ... there had to be explosives placed in the building weeks earlier.

    September 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • remember the uss liberty

      a white JEW

      him and his buddies took down all three buildings.

      muslims had NOTHING to do with 911.

      Israel did 911. killed jfk and tried to sink the USS Liberty.

      this in addition to the stream of monstrous lies they tell about everything and sinking our economy into the swamp.

      And we are still going on about Muslims?!!??!?!?!?

      Every Muslim i have ever met is too scared to even talk about politics, they are the most peaceful people I have ever met.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:05 am |
  9. Matt

    When did any prominent Muslim leader ever apologize for 9/11? Or condemn it either for that matter?

    September 27, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • nad

      Very simple fact just like Christianity and Judaism, Islam equivocally condemns terrorism.

      September 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • remember the uss liberty

      1000's of Muslim leaders condemned 911 !
      World wide.
      guess how many of those were broadcast in the mainstream JEW media? 0

      They did broadcast a Muslim holiday that took place ONE YEAR BEFORE 911 and make it seem like they were celebrating 911.

      oh yea... they also forgot to tell you about the 5 dancing Israel Mossad agents filming 911 and celebrating, high fives!!! they were even on Israel tv admitting to it. (check "911 missing links" on youttube for film "

      Oh yeah.. they also forgot to tell you about the other two Mossad agents caught in a white van full of TNT on the George Washington Bridge..... aw.... too bad huh... DUAL ISRAELI citizen Micheal Chertoff had them all deported to Israel ASAP

      Chertoff also wrote the patriot act and sells those TSA scanners. made a mint too. also Chertoff will be in charge of the entire homeland security when martial law is declared and by the way his name means "child of satan" in Russian

      Micheal Chertoff ain't a muslim by the way...

      September 29, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  10. Joe Vancil

    Aman,

    Your points are on target, except for one: if the actual terrorists say they are acting in the name of Islam, then, as good Muslims, you should be working to educate them and those who hear them on why they are NOT acting in accordance with Islamic beliefs. It's time that those of us with religious views take time to educate our own – in my case, Christians, and in your case, Muslims. Westboro Baptist Church gives us Christians a bad name, too, and I believe that it's important that we people of faith make sure that we make sure the overly-radical views – which often tend to speak loudly – don't drown out the rest of us. And while this is tiring, annoying, and difficult, I do believe that it's part of our responsibility as Christians, or as Muslims, or as any other religious follower. Call it the price of obedience to a higher power.

    September 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  11. Dr.Gopinath

    PS: And the educated ones believe in this absurd conspiracy theory too !! No evidence or arguments can sway them, No ! They say- a true Muslim can never murder anyone in cold blood- the Koran forbids it !! What crap.

    September 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • nad

      Islam is from the devil and no doubt in any one's mind.

      September 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  12. Dr.Gopinath

    I work in the Middle East and I have yet to hear a Muslim apologise for 9/11. They actually believe that it was all a huge CIA/MOSSAD plot to make Islam look bad.

    September 27, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • remember the uss liberty

      it was MOSSAD 100%
      Dr. Alan Sobrosky, former Head of the US Army war college also agrees, as does most of the US military top brass.

      everyone knows the JEWS did 911.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:12 am |
  13. Frenchy

    If you want to have an idea what it is like to be a Christian in a Moslem country you must read THE PACT OF UMAR it is still in effect today?Go too;Medieval Sourcebook Pact of Umar 7th century Syria you will certainly be well informed on this subject.

    September 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Sal

      I'm a Christian and I have been to Muslim countries many times, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai, the people there were all very friendly to me even though they knew I was Christian. To be honest they didn't care what religion I was......they mostly were interested in conducting business. Now if Islam was how many bigots in this country would have you believe, I should have been killed dozens of times over for being an "infidel".

      September 28, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • remember the uss liberty

      the muslim arabs treated me like a prince in Egypt, Jordan and espcially Palestine, they are the nicest people on earth.

      Christians have been living there peacefully for over a 1000 years.

      Jews were living their peacefully too until Zionism, came about. in fact they all fled to the muslim lands after they were "discovered" in europe.... they sure did reward them muslims real well for their hospitality huh?

      We are getting that same reward now

      September 29, 2011 at 1:23 am |
  14. Steve Stroup

    I think we learned everything we need to know about Islam on 9-11.
    Time for a little Cowboys and Muslems.

    September 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • remember the uss liberty

      if you are not a jew or a paid shill then you are a moron and you better wake up

      watch " 911 missing links" on youtube

      September 29, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  15. Warren

    I, like many other people who have commented on this article, have never heard a muslim apologize for 9/11. Never. This article makes no sense to me at all...of course they shouldn't apologize. Like the article suggests, 99.99999999% of Muslims had nothing to do with the attacks. Maybe if non-Muslims ask a Muslim how they feel towards 9/11, they are wondering if anyone's opinion has changed towards them since the attacks. Oh, and that Nickelback joke was terrible...this article has nothing to do with Race. I hate when people confuse race and religion.

    September 27, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  16. QC

    I read in this blog a lot of references to some scriptures written hundreds when not thousands of years ago in eras when most peoples thought that the Earth was flat... Can't you, people, just use your common sens to make judgments? Not just 'common sens' on how would be the best way to get on top of others, but a larger 'common sens'. Like "when all the Earth is Muslims, then what?", or "Do I really need to have the last word?". We all got a brain at birth, why not use it for the greater good?

    September 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  17. Ray

    The Koran doesn't incite acts of terror against other religions? Really? Which Koran do you read?

    Im an Assyrian from Iraq.. They are the Christian minority in Iraq. We have seen our population dwindle from millions to thousands because of religious genocide. So what gives? What motivates all the Islamic hate against Christians and Jews happening in the middle east right now... ding ding ding.. you got it, the Koran.

    September 27, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Fabyso

      Ray, your logic has got to be one of the most dumbest trains of logic I have seen to date.
      Group X prosecutes Group Y. Therefore, IT MUST be because the biblical scriptures of group X that has motivated them to do such.
      Peoples are prosecuted for many reasons. Power, oil, racial discrimination. The hutus and tutsi in rawanda, the kurds in the middle east. The Sunni and the Shia (who are both muslims). I hope the people who prosecuted you are brought to justice. But lo on the dimwit who follows your logic.

      September 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Sam

      I need you to think about this, this way:
      If muslims wanted to kill the Christians and the Jewish, you would not find any of them living in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Tunis, ....... after 1400 years of Islam.

      But you will not find any muslim in Spain. Why is that?

      September 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Sam

      A little bit of research would show you that there are about 1 million muslims in Spain...

      September 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Ray

      @Fabyso

      My logic is founded upon their scriptural motivation yes. But also from the real life experiences of many families and friends who have been forced to leave the country or else face persecution. I have an Uncle who's been kidnaped because he is an Iraqi Christian (Assyrian). Church's that are blown up yearly are done for Islamic reasons. They say our lives are "halal" meaning it would be just to murder our people for glory to allah.

      Please when you respond to poster, do not assume you know something unless you have done the research on our people. We have no homes, we have lost fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers to Islam. And trust me we have no power, oil and it is not racial because we are seen as Iraqi citizens either way. It's all religious cleansing that is happening in Iraqi and it never makes CNN.

      September 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Muneef

      I agree with what been posted by "Fabyso"...
      Although would like to ask "Ray" some things...

      Ray.

      Can I ask you if all the Muslims in your area said the same thing as your blood as Christian is "HALAL" to kill? Or where they some few redial groups? Aren't these redical groups attacking people of their sector and other sectors of Islam calling them "Infidels" and that their blood is "HALAL"?
      If that was the case then we are facing greeds for political powers&wealth disguised and concealed under redical religious motives...!!

      September 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • Muneef

      Ray.

      Am sure it wasn't always like that before the total mess of Iraq...but ever you wondered why more terrorism today than was two decades ago?

      Corruptions,Wars & Conflicts easily create such as those as can be found here;

      Putting 60 countries on a list of "failed states" is sensationalistic. Calling more than a quarter of the world's countries "failed states" removes the legitimacy from the label.

      http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/21/postcards_from_hell
      The Strategic Challenge of Failed States
      As the Bank study shows, when one area in a state begins to fail or can no longer function as part of the state, other nearby regions, both in that state and in surrounding states, will almost certainly be affected.

      The paper defines four categories of armed groups that take advantage or create the world’s stateless regions—guerrillas, terrorists, transnational criminal groups and insurgencies.

      http://www.strategycenter.net/research/pubID.120/pub_detail.asp

      September 27, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • nad

      The true bare naked islam.

      September 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • remember the uss liberty

      DO NOT ARGUE WITH THESE TROLLS.

      These are paid by Isreali and the adl etc.. to spam the net with their lies to control american public opinion. there are 1000's of them! this is how they control the net, Jews have been doing this for over a decade and we still sit here trying to "convince them"

      lol

      ISRAEL DID 911.

      Dr. Alan Sabrosky of the US Army War college came out and said it. The top brass of the military knows it.
      Check out "911 missing links" on youtube

      September 29, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  18. Imajoker

    Aman,
    Listed as a writer and highlighted as a comedian? Word of advice.... Stick with comedy. I'm tired of hearing about Muslims having to apologize. Nobody ever asked them too. Not being Muslim, nor knowing how many American Muslims there are, how come I haven't heard ANY of them condemn the tragedy of 9/11? Call me an old fashion American, but my upbringing tells me that people lliving in the United States of America should be proud and patriotic about there country and the freedoms it gives to every one of it's citizens. A Muslim may be a Muslim, but an American Muslim is just that......an American! Why haven't I heard the outrage? Maybe I just don't get it.

    September 26, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Sal

      Yes you are correct. You don't get it. Just because American Muslims didn't line up to apologize or condemn the acts to you directly doesn't mean they didn't condemn the attacks. I know many Muslims and they are every bit as patriotic as my Christian friends. They absolutely 100% are not interested in bringing Sharia law to the United States and believe that there is no basis whatsoever that makes terror legitimate. Perhaps you should go out and find some Muslim friends rather than just spout off lines based on pure ignorance.

      September 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  19. Lloyd Robinson

    Sorry, but I have never heard a Muslim apologize for 9/11. And if significant numbers of eminent Muslim figures went out of their way to condemn the 9/11 attacks then it certainly didn't get much press in the US.

    September 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Sal

      You are correct. It didn't get any press in the United States. The prayer vigils held by Muslims all over the world to pray for the victims of 9/11.....not a word about it in the press. This link is a small sampling of the statements made by Muslim leaders all over the world after 9/11:
      http://islam.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=islam&cdn=religion&tm=10&f=00&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&st=10&zu=http%3A//www.unc.edu/~kurzman/terror.htm

      September 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  20. razorjessy

    Lol dude your messed up Muslims in the UK and Toronto bragged and yelled it with honor in the streets allah shall rule etc. Ive never heard a Muslims say sorry about 9/11 but i have seen Muslims take pride in it. Quit being a tool and playing the Muslim victim everywhere your kind is already spreading your disgusting religion in my children school.

    September 26, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • remember the uss liberty

      Paid Israeli propoganda!

      ISRAEL DID 911.

      Dr. Alan Sabrosky of the US Army War college came out and said it. The top brass of the military knows it.
      Check out "911 missing links" on youtube

      September 29, 2011 at 1:27 am |
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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.