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. Erik

    This is what happens when religion exists......

    September 29, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Erik

      Look at the arguments!

      September 29, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  2. Muneef

    Some few know better than most;

    Director Marc H. Ellis Dr. Marc Ellis lecturing
     University Professor of Jewish Studies
    Professor of History
    Director, Center for Jewish Studies

    Obama, Israel, and Palestinian Statehood
    September 23, 2011
    An open letter to US President Barack Obama following his speech to the United Nations on the issue of Palestinian statehood.

    Mr. President, this can also be our beginning.  That beginning will only come when the truth is told by Jews and Palestinians together.  And yes, perhaps one day, by the President of the United States of America.

    September 29, 2011 at 6:47 am |
    • Muneef

      Guess we have cons in every religion,in every political party,in every Gvt's nationwide....! They do must of the con jobs getting people to fight in dispute and in conflict over it....what ever mess the world is in at the moment is caused by those cons who act as Termites in woods...!

      September 29, 2011 at 6:55 am |
  3. G

    Just respond. "how do you feel about the crusade of 1095?"

    September 29, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Jweitzel3

      Well, the 1st crusade went well for the Christians but the others not so good!!

      September 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  4. rich

    as soon as the Islamists obtain nuclear weaponry it's all over. It's only a matter of time.

    September 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • remember the uss liberty

      muslims getting a hold of nuclear weapons? ahahahah

      the only danger is from Israel getting a hold of nuclear weapons and bombing us AGAIN!

      911 was 100% Israeli MOSSAD.
      Dr. Alan Sabrosky of the US Army war college knows israeli did 911 and came out and said it, the entire top brass of the military knows. only us dummies on CNN are blind.. guess who owns cnn?

      Mossad agents have been trying to get nukes out of Pakistan to blow up an american city to frame Pakistan so we can take them down. Of course they need a nuclear 911 to do it.

      Stop ISRAEL NOW before we lose any more american lives!!!!!!

      September 29, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • inPain

      ah.. they already have them guys. or did you mean terrorist.. both Israel and at least one Muslim nation have these weapons.. Pakistan. I am a Christian.. but guys.. you can not confuse Muslims with terrorist. One is a religion, which I myself think, no offense, is wrong, the other is a .. I am not sure what the other is .. craziness I guess.. all of us are wrong at some point right.. even me and I dont think you, or I should kill someone cause we think that they are wrong, even if they are. A lof of my firends are Muslim, some from Pakistan.. I have never at any time wanted to harm any of them. we disagree on stuff but, kill them.. ??
      as far as Israel, in your statement their version of the CIA, carrying out 9/11.. ah.. that sounds a little crazy boss, right.. I mean there is a group that stood up and said “we did this” .. right? We have them saying is on films that they created and released.. so… I think we know who did this.. right guys..

      September 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Keith

      Iran is threatening to send its navy to the east coast of the U.S. Turn 'em into artificial reefs.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • Jweitzel3

      Duh" Pakistan has had nuclear weapons forever..

      September 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Haha what a joke that is;

    An important announcement by The Queen Elizabeth ll to the citizens of the United States of America:  In the light of your failure to competently govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

    Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories.


    September 28, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • inPain

      ah.. just for the record.. they did not give us independence, we kind of took it.. right.. they tried to take is back in 1812 and they lost.. so.. I am pretty sure they have given up on the idea.. HA.. funny post anyway though..

      September 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  6. djlockerthebrain

    The Muslims have never apologized for 9/11 and I've never met a Muslim person that has apologized for 9/11. Nor should they. What the hell are you talking about?

    September 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  7. Mrs.Brooks

    I'm Muslim and I'm not apologizing for anything. I guess Muslims planted bombs in a building too to make the building go down the way it did. A plane CANNOT and WILL NOT make a building made of strong materials that it was made of collapse from a plane you idiots. Blame your "Christian" President. And you "Christians" should apologize and NEVER stop apologizing for Slavery, Taking land from innocent people, and the Evil and racism you have spread throughout the world for thousands of yrs and even now. Christians are responsible for 9/11 and i am sooooo disgusted. You should be ashamed of yourself you Terrorist!!!!!!!!!! smh.

    September 28, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Keith

      Mrs. Brooks, just don't attempt driving in Saudi Arabia(the lashing is a real bummer). Isn't islam awesome! Where do I sign up? Then again maybe that is the punishment for texting and driving-now that would make sense.

      September 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • djlockerthebrain

      Hey Keith. Remember the Crusades where Christians under the authority of the Church terrorized and butchered Muslims for over 300 years? Wait...how about all the little kids who get molested by CHRISTIAN priests? How about how the Bible says women were created to serve man. Islam isn't as bad as you think once reminded of the atrocities your religion has caused.

      September 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Mrs.Brooks

      @Keith Islam is Awesome! Thanks! So what is the punishment for innocent men and women in this majority Christian country on a crime? Death penalty, and how back in the day you use to behead men and women for the smallest of crimes and had a audience? Lynching men and women from trees? Telling a race that Your God (Jesus) is for white christians? Oh, and what about those good ol' Christians in the white suits that burn your cross and burn down the houses with families in it in the name of Christianity. I can go on and on.. So do your research! But back on the article, I'm not and nor should any Muslim apologize for 9/11. If you want a apology go to your Christian president and get one! You'll never get it either.

      September 29, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • unlocke

      @Mrs. Brooks: just as there are "crazies" that are Muslim, there are also "crazies" that claim to be Christian. That does NOT, however; mean that all of us are crazy. You, my dear, are misinformed on many, many levels. I'm not going to turn this into a religous debate about Christianity vs. Islam because you wouldn't "hear" me anyway. But I will say this: While I am not a Muslim and don't claim to know much of anything about the Muslim faith, I will tell you this: I was at home teaching my children when those planes hit the towers. I wasn't even born yet when slavery was in place nor when "we" took land from the Indians, or many other societal wrongs. The sins of the father are passed down to a thousand generations, according to the Bible. Therefore; I will apologize for what my ancestors did. But I will not apologize for something I didn't do because you want to lump all people into one category and then blame the whole category for something dumb. He's exactly right. He didn't fly those planes, it was some radical idiot muslims that did it. They were men, so should all men apologize for 9/11? No. They had black hair. Should everyone with black hair apologize? No. They were muslim. Should all muslims apologize? No.
      I am a Christian. Should I apologize for anything a so-called "Christian" does, even in the name of Christianity? No. It's called stereo-typing. You'd be a much nicer person if you'd stop it.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Mrs.Brooks

      @Unlocke Don't tell me anything about stereotypes....I don't even have to go there. We're you on the plane to determine who "hijacked"the plane? Don't think so. Thats what i believe and thats what i stand for period. I believe, like i said b4, your president was involved in this wicked plan, its not unlikely especially with all of the wickedness that has occurred in the past with this country. Not stereotypes, just facts. Also, what i write on here cannot certainly depict who I am as a person. So that last comment on me being nicer should be kept to yourself. I'm clearly stating what I believe and you stated what you believe and it should be left at that.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Keith

      Pull another 911 attack and then get back in our faces, Mrs. Brooks. See how well it's going to work out for you. We need to stop bending over backwards not to offend you people. That's what needs to stop.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Mrs.Brooks

      @Keith, whats going to happen if who gets in whos face Terrorist? You went overseas and got slaughtered. now thats what happens when you get in someones face internet thug. Christianity=Terrorist

      September 29, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • LifeWarrior93

      Why would the president kill thousands of citizens that he's responsible for, butting the country that he's over in debt(which makes him look like crap), and sending thousands to war, making half of the country hate him? No, Unlocke was not on the plane but Al-Qaeda took immediate responsibility for the attcks and there were others standing in the streets celebrating because they succeded. We dont blame all muslims, just the group responsible. Are christians the ones who posted videos on the internet of them sawing off a man's head? No, it was a member of Al-Qaeda who sawed off a christian man's head and showed the world. I am a christian and my family pictures like a bag of skittles. I have guatemalan sisters, a cambodian cousin, a Korean cousin, a black cousin, and an Indian cousin..so I dont really know where you get all the racism crap from. The bible teaches us not to be racist, so if anyone who claimed to be a christian did something stupid, that gives you no right to judge all of us. It just makes you look ignorant.

      September 30, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Mrs.Brooks

      @Lifewarrior....smh Don't put you all in the same category? read all of the 2,000 plus comments. Tell that to your fellow "christians" obviously your ignorant. And what do you mean why would the president do it? Why would Presidents condone Slavery for all those yrs? is that not worst. Ask yourself these questions before you post them for me. I'm not going to keep going back and forth with you people, you have cement over your eyes. good day!

      September 30, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Mrs.Brooks

      @Lifewarrior...oh your right, lol since you guys didn't put it on the ïnternet" which didn't exist then,of chopping folks heads off then you are more tame? lol smh. Murder is Murder! Period.Christians practiced it and did it in front of audiences on a daily. I wonder if you remember that? Lastly, i hear this alllll the time, just because you have different races in your fam does not mean your not a racist ok.. thats obvious. never said you were one but you must feel some type of way. i know plenty of people with different races in their family that dislike some because of their race. Now justify that. oh, and they're Christian. give me a break.

      September 30, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • LifeWarrior93

      Not everyone who claims to be christians actually act like it. My religion has it's twisted freaks and your religion has it's twisted freaks, that does not mean that everyone who is a christian or everyone who is a muslim are all the exact same. Obviously, you are closed-minded about opening a real book and seeing what christianity is all about. If all you go off of is your rediculous twisted opinions, that's fine with me. If you would ever like to open your mind long enough to find out about what christianity means I'd love to talk with you. Until then, goodbye. I'll be praying for you.
      God bless.

      September 30, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Mrs.Brooks

      @LifeWarrior. I don't agree that its "religion"with twisted streaks. I believe its people with twisted streaks. ok, secondly pray for yourself and the other 2000 non musllm comments on here. Clearly, its not a even discussion. who's being attacked? Half of these comments are coming from self proclaimed christians. not close minded, very intelligent, just read. You have a good day.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • LifeWarrior93

      Being inteligent would require you to know something about being a christian, whch you clearly do not. Murder is definitely not any part of it. In fact, one of the ten commandments, which anyone who has done even a little research would know, is not to kill. To be so ignorant as to think everyone on here are killers and terrorist who are not muslim is quite frankly, just stupid.
      Also, I did not say anything about religion having twisted streaks. I said freaks, meaning that some people may claim to be "christian" or "muslim" or "jewish" and do something stupid that makes people judge everyone else who calls themself any of those because nobody wants to take the time to do any research and see what the real teachings are they just want to point the finger at one person who did something wrong and say "they must all be that way."
      My God is a God of love. Being a christian is not about you hair style, what you wear or anythings else like that, it is about having a relationship with God and talking to him and loving him. it is as simple as that. In the scriptures about the ten commandments it says "the greatest of these is love" meaning if you love him you will not commit murder or adultry or steal or anything else that the verses talk about.
      Also, if me and my family did not love all of them we would not have adopted them. I love them and I am definitely not a racist. I think it is rediculous to judge people based on the color of their skin. It actually makes me furious when I see someone being racist.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  8. G. Smith

    The attacks of 9/11 could not have been carried out without the explicit approval of numerous Muslims and the celebration of Muslims in the streets after the attacks verify their approval.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  9. uh

    Pretty sure I've never hear a Muslim apologize for 9/11. Not that I by any means believe they should. However, its very presumptuous to even suggest that Muslim Americans have been walking around the last ten years with a weight of apology on their shoulders. Because that simply hasn't been the case.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  10. Nathan Davis

    There are no non-violent Muslims. There are just "Muslims" that don't even know what real Islam is about. -_-

    September 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Tim

      And you do? maybe you should do the 1.6 billion Muslims a favor and teach them about the religion they and several generations prior have studied and practiced...because apparently only you and al-qaeda know what Islam is all about

      September 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  11. plumpcrazy

    My friend I am absolutely in an agreement with you. Asking you about 911 because you are a muslem, is the same as asking christian about how they feel about Timothy James McVeigh ( (April 23, 1968 – June 11, 2001) was a United States Army veteran and security guard who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995), Theodore John "Ted" Kaczynski (pronounced /kəˈzɪnski/; born May 22, 1942), also known as the "Unabomber" (a portmanteau of university and airline bomber), is an American mathematician, anarchist, social critic, primitivist, and Neo-Luddite[1] who engaged in a mail bombing spree that spanned nearly 20 years, killing three people and injuring 23 others; and Eric Robert Rudolph (born September 19, 1966), also known as the Olympic Park Bomber, is a criminal responsible for a series of bombings across the southern United States between 1996 and 1998, which killed two people and injured at least 150 others in the name of an anti-abortion and anti-gay agenda. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers him a terrorist. Why are the christian not apologizing for these cowardly acts and crime they created against humanity such keeping other ethinic group in slave (blacks, whites, indians, chinese and spanish people).

    September 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Hi

      I don't believe they did it in the name of white race or Jesus or something like that.
      So asking anarchists about it is more comparable.
      Muslim terrorists do it in the name of Allah and Islam!!! Hence asking Muslims.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Hi

      Oh... Germany Nazi did it... but Germans did heck of a job apologizing for it, and correcting it.
      I don't see decent Germans going around posting on websites saying 'Germans should stop apologizing for Nazi'
      They earned their respect back.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • garc

      Hi, people who blow up abortion clinics (killing adult doctors and grown women–and teenagers–and, obviously, any fetuses involved) do it in the name of the Christian God. Nutjobs are nutjobs.

      September 28, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  12. heather

    people will believe wat they want to believe. its up our brain on what we should think.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  13. Hi


    September 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Derrick

      Now that is an Idea I think no moderate Muslim has stated in public or stood for what is right. As a matter of fact they have been so very quite. I wonder why?

      September 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Duh

      Terrorists should stop terrorism.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  14. Paulie

    Funny, I've never heard a muslim, or anyone else for that mattter apologize for 9-11. Yet, as a Southern California Police Officer, I rarely atttend any private function without people blatherinig about some cop injustice, what do I think about gangs and drug users, do prisons really rehabilitate criminals, blah, blah, blah. The fact is that people are facinated about folks who lead lives that seem to touch on issues important to them: meaning issues featured in the news. Get over your defensiveness and be a role model for moderation and understanding. Or, just do what everyone else does: when you meet me in the check-out line ask me what I think about Rodney King.

    September 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • paulm5545

      How about Kelly Thomas, but I get your point. There are numerous articles, by the way, written by prominent Muslim's condemning the 9/11 attacks, beheading attacks, suicide bombers, etc. I wouldn't expect anyone not responsible for apologizing for something they never did. I certainly wouldn't expect you to apologize for Rodney King or Kelly Thomas. I once felt as you do, but when you check into it, you will see over and over again where the atrocities are condemned by Muslims. Mr. Ali, this police officer is correct. There is that fascination and sometimes ignorant insensitiveness, but do what Paulie does. Take a deep breath and just explain how you feel. Paulie -staff safe and thank you for your service.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  15. Heather

    I would say that Islam has to keep refuting the violence, so that newer generations of children coming of age, beginning to realize what 9/11 was all about, and questioning why someone would do this horrible thing in the name os Islam. We don't need new ignorant folks to replace the generation dying out.

    September 28, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  16. doctor mohammed ghias arsalan

    at this time in faisalabad pakistan almost every person is doing talk to about money. people are doing negative use of beard .the ratio of ego is too high. not construction of home or offices is important in style but car is significant. faisalabad is 11th big city of pakistan.. there is no any system in daily life available. almost every person think that he is lord. decline of faisalabad is looking. people are doing follow to the fate not follow to the law of state or law of religion. from -ghias none-announced president of pakistan

    September 28, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Helmont

      The above reads like a spam e-mail from Nigeria...

      September 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  17. LifeWarrior93

    White people shouldnt have to apologise for Nickelback coming out with a new album.. Nickelback should apologise for coming out with a new album. They're just terrible.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  18. StevieGirl

    No single book has all of the answers! A book can be filled with words, parables, advice, insight, etc that guide, inspire, and celebrate the sacredness of life. No single piece of writing, however, holds all of life's answers or directions. Many hard-core "Christians" seem to lose sight of the whole concept, values and practices of the Christian faith. Talk about "extremists;" and yes, I am a proud Christian! I respect all human life, as well as the lives of all sentient beings! Walk the walk folks! The world would be a more peaceful place!

    September 28, 2011 at 4:45 am |
  19. StevieGirl

    Mr. Ali ~ I did not even attempt to read all of the comments that were posted in response to your article. The first two alone, completely verify your point! Very well-written article. Thank you.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:38 am |
  20. stacy

    I'd just have to ask who the infidel is????????????????What is Jihad??????????????????????? Is it in the koran????????????? Now were speaking the right language...........................................This all roots from two biblicle characters. Abraham and sara. They were told by God that they would bear a child late in their lives, many years past child bearing age. The short version is Abraham took in a maid and she had a child before Sara. Sara got jelous and ran her and the child off. These people are the decendants of the hand maiden and have hated Sara's child every since their begining. That is why Isreal has one faith and muslims have another. They are still brothers fighting to this day. The cool thing, is that I know who wins. Sara's off spring is blessed by God and called his people. We being Gentile/ not Jew are next in line. The bible says first to the Jew then to the Gentile. That's where Jesus comes in. He's there for muslims too. He doesn't require jihad. Let's not confuse the real issues. No need to appoligize, just know that sin begats sin.

    September 28, 2011 at 2:23 am |
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About this blog

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.