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. MARIE

    Then maybe others should stop apologizing for 'crimes' committed against the native americans, the jews, and just about everybody else who has been wronged by a specific culture, religion, or race. Will this political correctness trap we live in ever stop??????? I am so sick of this! How are we ever going to get past prejudices and wrongfull, willful misleadings if we keep on like this! I am trying to keep my head on straight and be an upright citizen, and to embrace differences from my own. BUT, I am sick of this insanity and brainwashing! YES, brainwashing! I suppose you're going to force me to say the EMPEROR IS WEARING CLOTHES????

    September 30, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  2. Mike D

    I can't hear any apology over the din of continued terrorist threats and attacks.

    And now we're "Islamophobes"?

    September 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • DonJose

      Yes you are. But, sine are protesting so much, why don't you start apologizing for the Inquisition, and, if you are a Protestant, for hanging witches in Salem by your bretheren. And, while we're at it: Make sure you apologize for the Crusades.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  3. Buzz Aldrin

    Don't apologize for it – report your crazy relatives and friends before they have the chance to kill people.

    Exactly how many white middle class guys are jihading, compared to people with a natural suntan? Let's be realistic. Just report the wackos.

    September 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  4. Really?

    I do not know the truth about, or have a comprehensive understanding of Islam. However, I have met a handful of Islamic people in my lifetime and can say I have never met one that is violent or in any way majorly differnent from anyone else I know. I do not feel there is any true and widespread religion that believes in a higher power and simultaniously advocates violence. Most everyone that has a comment to make about Islam I would guarentee has no real knowledge about the religion or its beliefs. I would love to hear from an educated person with a thorough understanding in the matter. Perhaps someone with a doctorate in theology or something. But if you are making assertions based on information gathered from secondary sources you need to open your eyes, and realize that YOU are doing nothing more than spreading the hate that you are supposidly condeming.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Lyle

      there are plenty of educated sources some ex-muslim with doctorates, go to faithfreedom.org and learn the truth

      October 1, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  5. Emily

    Asking Muslims to apologize for 9/11 is ridiculous. Its like asking Caucasians to apologize for slavery...oh, wait, African Americans do want us to apologize for it. I had NOTHING to do with what my ancestors did a hundred years ago. Why should I have to apologize? The best I can do is learn from it. That is exactly my stance on Muslims apologizing for 9/11. Just because the person is Muslim, does not mean that he/she follows everything that the terrorists believed.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  6. spocksbrain

    Applogize no. Condemn yes. You should condemn those who did this act and any and all those who make excuses for it. Absolutely condemn.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Buzz Aldrin

      What happened to african and native americans should be a lesson to us all.

      I still feel guilty whenever the subject comes up and I had nothing to do with either. I wasn't even alive.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  7. themadjewess

    'I guess Native Americans being considered “heathens” and almost totally wiped out by the Christians who founded this country doesn’t count as violence'
    Says American Muslim.
    Helloooooooooooooo??? This is year 2011, not 1871.
    Stop trying to justify Islamic Jihadist fundamentalism with bringing up OTHER talking points.
    If you feel that Islamic fundamentalism is OK, and Kosher, why try to defend yourself?

    September 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  8. Laura

    I've never heard a follower of islam apologize for the attack on the United States. Even more so, has anyone heard of a mosque or muslim cleric denounce the 9/11 attacks on the United States?

    September 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • CrazyTimes

      And even many of our "Moderate" Muslim leaders here in the US have been caught on tape supporting Jihad and terror groups.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  9. Living Epistle

    Many muslims and their organizations do not apologize for 9/11 just like they don't condemn terrorist groups–because Islam calls for jihad (holy war) against non-muslims

    Qur’an 9:111—Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain.
    Qur’an 9:123—O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.
    Qur’an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.
    Surah 9:29: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

    Qur’an 9:73—O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them.

    Sahih Bukhari, Volume1, Book 2, Number 25 Narrated Ibn 'Umar:Allah's Apostle said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform all that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah."
    Sahih Muslim. Book 031, Number 5917 ...Ali went a bit and then halted and did not look about and then said in a loud voice: Allah's Messenger, on what issue should I fight with the people? Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: Fight with them until they bear testimony to the fact that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger, and when they do that then their blood and their riches are inviolable from your hands but what is justified by law and their reckoning is with Allah.
    Sahih al-Bukhari 2785—Narrated Abu Hurairah: A man came to Allah’s Messenger and said, “Guide me to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward).” He replied, “I do not find such a deed.”
    Sahih al-Bukhari 2796—Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, “A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah’s cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all the world and whatever is in it.”

    It's important for us to understand that Islam calls for subjugation of Everyone to Islam. If you look at muslim countries, Christiaans, ahmadiyas and any non-muslim is heavily persecuted. They come to the west for our religious freedom, quietly establish themselves by breeding and recruiting. They pretend to be 'peaceful', but contribute to terrorism directly or financially.

    If you look at the teachings of Jesus, He did not at any time, tell his followers to commit violence. So to just make ablanket statement and say 'all religions have their crazies' is brushing over the reality of Islam. The truth is MOST terrorist attacks are done in the name of Islam, in accordance to the Qu'ran.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Laura

      Thank you.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • American Muslim

      Selecting verses out of the Holy Quran is nice, now for those of you who want to know the truth about Islam, go read it for yourself, instead of allowing others to tell you what to think by handpicking verses (sometimes out of context). This is a vast religion, but simple, plain and true. More people became Muslim in America after September 11, than before it. Stop being sheeple! Read for yourself and stop being scared of what is obvious.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • CrazyTimes

      I agree, go read the qur'an. The context does not get any better, and there is no doubt about the message of the Qur'an. It is the most intolerant political system on the face of the Earth.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Pablo


      September 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  10. MIchaelChatt

    OMG. "Of the South?"
    Amazing how limited peoples perceptions of things are.
    Guess who sold most of the slaves to the southerners? It was Northerners, Foreign Businesses, and African Businesses. Abuse of people of different ethinic lines is not nor has it ever been just limited to people of Dark skin colors. In the north the Irish suffered greatly. It wasn't limited to just them. The North led the charge to Abuse, disgrace, and destroy the native Americans. There is no comparison between what happened to these two groups? Brutality against people for reasons unrelated to who the person actually is, is a terrible terrible thing. I say this because I have no problem making the life of a villain painfull and misserable, within reason.

    As for the actual topic. This sounds like my wife. She does something I don't like and after 5 minutes she says, it's done. We talked about it, it's over, leave it alone.

    Pretending this didn't happen is a flaw most of us have. The desire to discard history. Had Romans not invaded Isreal where would the world be today? Had Christians not done the same? Or Christians not sacked Constantinopal? It's quite possible Islam would not be nearly as important as it is today.

    The only people responsible for what happened on 9/11 are the people who made it happen and possibly those who helped it happen.

    The only people responcible for the slavery in the south are the people who did it or and let it happen.

    If you don't have any reason for guilt then it's time to let it go. But we can not and should not forget it happened. Nor should we forget there are millions of evil people in the world and that millions of people are muslims that would like to do us harm.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  11. Todd

    Yeah, and Nazi's need to stop apologizing for the Holocaust. It was only 1% of Nazi's that were involved in it after all. Yeah right

    September 30, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Gerke

      I don't know about the exact percent, but not all Nazi's wanted to kill Jews and promote Hitler. They were forced to be Nazis or they were killed. My grandfather & great uncle were Nazis because they didn't have a choice. My grandmother was in the Hitler youth because she didn't have a choice. That doesn't mean they killed Jews (in fact neither my grandfather nor great uncle were ever stationed in a concentration camp) nor should they continue apologizing for it 60 years after the fact. Yes they are sorry it happened and they wish it wasn't part of our German history and ancestry, but they did not have a choice.

      Also, the Holocaust and 9/11 are incredibly different events and should not be compared just because they share a commonality like being crimes against humanity or incredibly cruelty. They're not the same.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  12. Garret_TL

    Americans are too stupid to understand this. How quickly we forget the violence and terrorist of the SOUTH, who continue to fly their heritage flag, less than 50 years ago. Church bombings, water hoses, lynching’s, spray-painting, beheadings, rounding up people, so the KKK could get them later as they were released from jail. AND these were all Christians doing this. Pastors were leading lynchings in the South, but you won't see that in the US curriculum. The point is, these God Fearing Murdering Christians, presented a small percentage of the white population, and an even smaller percentage of the United States. But if the world has seen what was going on in the South in 1968, they would have label the entire country terrorist and bigots. If 1.5 billion muslims wanted us dead, there would a lot more death and destruction than what we see today.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  13. Saywhat

    Remember history? Theres reasons why there was a holy war with Islam. And it will come again, or we'll all end up being Islam. Islam can not live with many other religons, its them or nothing.

    September 30, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Mrs.Brooks

      ??? My husband is Christian, I guess I can live with him. lol smh. May God help you people. Where do you get this mess? lol

      September 30, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Saywhat

      I'm so glad you are a true muslim..how bout going over to Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco or Malaysia and telling them you're married to non muslim and all. Being a western muslim isnt the same thing over there. I dont think you'd like how women are really treated when you go to such places....

      September 30, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • saw

      That isn't religion it is culture... and you say it yourself when you point out having to go to another country in order for her choice of husbands to be a problem. Islam is no more a problem than Christianity when it comes to civil rights... different governments however, there in lies a great divide.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  14. cb

    What? Muslims never apologized for 911 in the first place. Shut your face!

    September 30, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  15. Max Smith

    Grad a copy of Quran to show that Islam implies Peace. Sure, why don't you watch Fitna that brings lines from Quran that pushes Muslims to keep everyone that is not Muslim. The Problem is that Muslims are very much attached to Quran and Quran influences them to be violent in their thoughts and subsequently in their beliefs. Just watch FITNA

    September 30, 2011 at 4:05 am |
    • Mrs.Brooks

      Fitna? No, grab a Quran. and thats odd, i'm 26 yrs old, And not a violent streak in me. I guess that kills your false statement. smh. Nice try though.

      September 30, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Mrs.Brooks

      And if all of the crap that you "christians"were saying about Muslims being soooo violent is true. You would have crimes everyday from the Muslims that live in America. "violent crimes at that" (let you guys tell it). And that the Quran teaches terrorism and hate...smh but you lazy bums keep referring to Fitna and other sources. Pick up the book and read. But you know what, don't read, you guys are puppets and believe in your own violent, false book. As i stated before i have been a muslim from birth and i'm 26 now....no record, no violent streak....i have a more peaceful and cleaner lifestyle than most if not all of you!

      September 30, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Saywhat

      @ Mrs.Brooks

      Do you know what Fitna means? Are you saying that the movie is wrong? Mrs.Brooks, just cause you dont kill, doesnt mean you dont support a religon that hates everybody that isnt Islam. Islam isnt a religon, its a cult. Its a cult that tries and turns people or they die. And if you speak out against it, well.....Just ask a few that either are dead or in hiding...Islam wants to turn our freedoms, just like it has with a few countries, and forces their laws onto all. We might "allow" you to pratice whatever you want to believe in, but there will never be sharia over this country

      September 30, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • saw


      That would qualify Christianity as a cult then, since many Christians condemn anyone who doesn't share their beliefs and claim they will all be by god and sent to hell... I know, I've been told many times that very thing, simply for having a different point of view than a "christian". Extremists are the exception, not the rule in any religion...

      September 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Keith

      Mrs. Brooks, It's because muslims are less than 1/10th of 1% of the population here in America. Go to that hell hole Pakistan where you are the majority to see the "real" islam. Clever stategy, really, try to out-breed your advesaries. Hopefully you NEVER get 2/10ths.....

      September 30, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Lyle

      Why would anyone want to pickup a fairy tale book like the quran. it has so many errors and contradictions which renders it useless and not from God but from a 7th century narcasistic murdering pedophile with frontal lobe epilepsy and bi polar disorder

      October 1, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  16. Naghma

    I'm not the same Muslim as the people who have contributed to all this terrorism crap. I live my life in peace and don't believe that it should be any different. When I turn on the news I'm not chearing on the terrorists like its some football game. People have different views and if those terrorists believe they should kill people to get their point across then they must've read wrong or something. I'm not going to apologize for what is happening with these people because I'm not a part of it. I might feel horrible for the people who died but I wasn't the guy in the plane in 9/11, I was trying to get an education and get by in life with respect to my religion. I personally tolerate all religions and dont go out of my way trying to convert everyone I see. I believe my actions will speak for itself. If I stay a good Muslim and citizen then I will represent my religion for what it is. I'm not a violent person and look down on any person who tries to instigate it. There are millions of muslims in the world, and a small portion are pro terrorism. Why should the rest be condemned for their actions. Its like saying all men are bad because there was a couple murderers who were men, or all artists are gay because there was a couple of them who were. I'm not part of that portion who kill for religion and I have no sympathy for the people who do. If I werent Muslim and some Muslim guy threatened me to become Muslim I wouldn't do it or I would be a real bad Muslim at heart because I came into the religion out of fear. So don't talk about the religion its the people who did it who you should point all your anger at.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Jeter

      So what are we to make of the videos of people celebrating the murder of thousands of innocent people throughout the Muslim world? Were they all "extremists" too? What are we to make of the passages in the Quran that pertain to Muslims' dealings with non-Muslims (I'll provide so of the more egregious quotes if you'd like)? You do realize that according to Islam, the Quran represents the literal word of God as spoken directly to Mohammed and therefore must be followed to the letter, right? Do you follow the teachings of the Quran to the letter, or are you an apostate worthy of death according to Islam? Do you see the problem "infidels" have with your "religion"?

      September 30, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  17. Abdul Ameer

    Muslims should STOP apologizing for 9/11???? How can they stop doing what they never started doing? Muslims have never apologized for 9/11. Please cut this crap. Muslims either celebrated the slaughter of 9/11 or denied that the al Qaeda murderers had anything to do with Islam. Never have Muslims taken any responsibility for helping to propagate the jihadist ideology which motivated al Qaeda and all the other Moslem terrorists.

    September 29, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  18. Dan

    Islam means "submit" not "peace". Muslims have plenty to apologize for. That this author rejects this is testament to his ignorance. In the past year, just for starters, over 700 people have been killed by Muslims "not condoning violence or terrorism". How many died at the hands of Christian or Jewish terrorists? Zero. That's right. Islam is fundamentally flawed, in that violence is central to its core beliefs. Iran threatening to execute a Christian pastor as we speak. Muslims must think we are stupid. We aren't.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • David

      Dan, the word 'Islam' does mean surrender but it is derived from the root word 'salam.' From this word you can also derive 'peace' and 'safety.' Your belief that violence is central to Islam's core is flat out wrong. I'm assuming you have little to zero knowledge of the religion itself, or its history. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all Abrahamic faiths. To say no one has been killed by Christian 'terrorists' is also false. The KKK considered themselves a Christian organization. Not to mention wars and imperialism that have been carried out throughout history in the name of "God.' It is not the religions that are the problem its the people that exploit others with the religion that are the problem. Your beliefs about Islam mirror some of the beliefs held by extremist Muslims. Honestly just read and research a little bit, especially before you voice your opinions in a public forum.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • American Muslim

      I guess Native Americans being considered "heathens" and almost totally wiped out by the Christians who founded this country doesn't count as violence. I guess it was not Christians who used the Holy Bible against African Americans to justify keeping them enslaved. Americans are so brainwashed, when will you wake up? Don't you see that your destructive habits and selfish mentallity will destroy America, not terrorism? See past your hatred and open up your mind. Islam is only a mercy to humankind. Muslims do not sit around all day long thinking about non-Muslims and what should be done about them. Muslims all around the world are busy raising their families and trying to put food on the table just like everyone else. The difference between Muslims and non-Muslims is that we know what the purpose of life is. It is to worship our Creator. The purpose of life is not to party and have a good time, not to please only yourself, not to be the best basketball player-singer-manager- whatever. The purpose of life is to worship your Creator. To many people out there do not know what the purpose of their life is. Since they don't know our country will continue to go downhill. We will destroy ourselves. The terrorist can just sit back and watch us destroy ourselves with crime, alcohol and loose morals. TERRORISM? WHAT TERRORISM? WE ARE DOING IT TO OURSELVES!!!

      September 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Monica

      How about that lunatic in Norway who went on a killing spree? I'd say he qualifies as a Christian terrorist...

      September 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  19. themadjewess

    'I absolutely agree with you on the fact that true Muslims should not apologize for 9/11'

    I grew up in NYC, lived in NY during 9/11, WHAT Muslims apologized?
    As usual, Commie News Network is FOS.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  20. Bryan

    If Islam is a religion of peace, then there a very few true Muslims. Islam was spread by the sword. Still is.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • christian W Gonzalez

      ur right dude lets just kill them all.... get real any christian priest will tell u that every religion is about peace but no one mentions the fact that the bible says for all gays to be killed

      September 29, 2011 at 9:02 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.