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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. truth speaker

    Muslims will never apologize, because what happened on 9/11 falls in line with their teachings and faith, in their evil book it states "And slay them wherever you catch them"(2:191...."fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)." (9:5) ***** THEIR BELIEFS CONDONE IT ***** how can these teachings be the TRUTH, they condone evil, Jesus Christ was purely righteous, never condoning such acts, he even put someones ear back on. Remember that you open minded people because if you dont stand for something you'll fall for anything.

    November 3, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  2. truth speaker

    Muslims will never apologize, because what happened on 9/11 falls in line with their teachings and faith, in their evil book it states "And slay them wherever you catch them"(2:191...."fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)." (9:5) ***** THEIR BELIEFS CONDONE IT ***** how can these teachings be the TRUTH, they condone evil, Jesus Christ was purely righteous, never condoning such acts, he even put someones ear back on. Remember that you open minded people because if you dont stand for something you'll fall for anything.

    November 3, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  3. Tom

    Okay, this Islam is a peaceful religion stuff is really getting old from CNN writers. Look, Aman, I am sure you are a nice guy. There are lots of nice Muslims. I have read the Quran. It has lots of wonderful words of peace and love and tolerance in roughly half its sayings, maybe you could argue more and I would not disagree with you. However, there is also a lot of hate, militaristic viewpoints, eye for an eye logic, and lack of tolerance for others in it too. Good people and good Muslims seek out the love and peace in the Quran. However, there are major problems with Islam and how it is taught and believed throughout large tracts of the Islamic population. You say 99% of Muslims are peaceful. Well, I think that is disinformation and hyperbole, both of which are not appreciated from a "journalist." You only have to look at the Muslim world and its support of Shariah law by at least 20 or 30% of the Muslim population to know that Islam has a large radical population. Shariah law has been denounced as anti-democratic by EU courts in case you did not know. Shariah law supports punishment for apostasy, which in case you did not know, has punishments for leaving the Muslim faith ranging from imprisonment to death. That is very anti-freedom of religion. Look it up. Punishment for apostasy is still on the law books in many Muslim countries. Then there are the intolerant laws restricting the rights of non-Muslims in Shariah law courts. The list goes on of the abuses under Shariah law. Perhaps you Muslims should apologize for Shariah law? I do know that not all Shariah law is bad. There are many good things in Shariah law, but there are also many bad things under Shariah law. Islam needs to go through a Reformation or something to denounce many of the warlike sayings in the Quran and many of the injustices in Shariah law. Islam is behind modern times. Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judiasm, and most of the major religions have all had reformations and moved to more tolerant views of others. Yes, every religion has its crazies, but Islam has a disproportionate amount of them.

    November 2, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  4. Greyman

    I daresay that Muslims taking part in the production of Green Lantern is a small step for the Islamic faith unsucking itself as a whole.

    November 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  5. M Ahmed

    Please read Gospel of Barnabas

    October 31, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  6. Emma

    I'm Jewish. I'm still waiting from my apology from everyone...
    Quit blaming Islam for 9/11. Either you don't blame a whole religion or I can blame Christians for all sorts of things too.

    October 30, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Bill

      I think Germans did excellent job apologizing.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • hey kiss my ass islam

      yea but everyone hates jews i mean comon right

      November 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  7. comecleanOK

    Muslim taxi drivers in Canada were dancing in the streets on 9/11, I saw it at the airport in Calgary. We were told the enemy is amongst you, but you cannot racially profile. Dead right!. Canadians have yet to learn the "dead right" rule. I can just see all the politically correct people standing at the "pearly gates" sayin, "but that shouldn't have happened".

    October 29, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  8. Imam Truth

    What is funny about Muslims is their hatred of Jews – Called dogs in Islam's "holy text".

    Yet 1 Israeli soldier was traded for 1,025 "Palestinians". So looks like a Muslim is only worth 1/1000 of a Jew.

    October 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  9. Chuck Creig

    Uh, I wasn't aware they HAD apologized...

    October 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Imam Truth

      They never had and never will... It was a victory according to their twisted beliefs...

      October 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Gill

      Hey Chuck
      I'm still waiting for your apology for 246 years of slavery!!!!

      Waiting for apology

      October 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Tom

      Hey Gil, yup, Christians and Americans sponsored slavery for a long time. But did you know that Islamic countries were the last countries on Earth to outlaw slavery? They did not do it until the 1970s in some of them. Every religion and every country has had the evils of slavery. Slavery was a human evil and not one based solely in one country or under one religion.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  10. Imam Truth

    Yes, Muslims should stop apologizing for 9/11 and renounce their evil and intolerant faith. The muslims behind 9/11 were just following what is actually written in the Quran. They were good Muslims according to their holy book. Open the dang thing and read it. When you are through vomiting, renounce your faith that treats woman like dirt, Jews like dogs, promotes killing and enslaving non-Muslims. Wake up people!!!

    October 27, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Lance

      Repeat after me.......hallucinogenic drugs are bad and make me into a card carrying member of AIPAC.....I will stop being an Israel-Firster who wants to keep Americans ignorant of how Israel murdered young unarmed American sailors in an unprovoked attack on the American ship, the USS Liberty.....

      October 28, 2011 at 6:05 am |
    • Lance

      Israel-Firsters must stop being apologists and trying to whitewash Israel's murderous and unprovoked attack on the unarmed American ship, the USS Liberty in international waters where it murdered 34 unarmed American sailors and wounded hundreds more:
      Check out the eyewitness testimony of the urvivors here as well as what high ranking American officials said about how it was a planned and methodical attack and not a friendly fire incident:
      http://home.roadrunner.com/~gidusko/texts/support.txt
      http://home.roadrunner.com/~gidusko/liberty/

      October 28, 2011 at 6:57 am |
    • Islam Truth

      @Lance – LOL – Nice Spam – here is the answer from earlier to your Muslim lies...

      All mid-east Islamic countries had people dancing in the streets. These men were doing a good thing in the perverted eyes of Islam.

      The USS Liberty is brought up many times by Muslims to try to divide the US & Israel, but it is a pathetic attempt. The USS Liberty was a friendly fire incident. It happens all the time. The US intelligence ship was in an active combat zone and being an intelligence vessel had limited markings and was attacked by mistake.

      What is more interesting is the British bombing of the French warships in WWII. When France surrendered, British air force purposefully pummeled and sank the ships with ALL hands on board to keep the ships out of German hands. Definitely not an accident.

      October 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  11. Kyle

    The nickleback comment just made me respect this man. He is right. Anyone that disagrees with his points on this is retarded beyond any belief. I am an atheist and I agree with him 100 percent. Muslims should not apologize for 911. If you think they have to then the jews need to apologize for killing jesus and the christians need to apologize for the crusades.

    October 26, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Imam Truth

      The Jews didn't kill Jesus, he gave himself up and the ROMANS crucified him. The crusades were to try to prevent Islam from taking over all the mid-east countries. Geepers man, open a history book...

      October 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Tom

      I am still waiting for the Muslim apology for the invasion of Christian France in the 700 AD that was only stopped at the Battle of Tours. That was some 200 years before the Crusades. Maybe the Muslims should also apologize for the invasion of Central Europe that was only stopped at the two Sieges of Vienna? Wait. All this apology stuff is probably over done. Both sides and all religions and philosophies have committed atrocities, including atheists. Being cruel to others is often a human condition and not one caused solely by a religion or philosophy. I, too, think the writer was funny and seems like a nice guy from the article. I do however disagree with his portrayal of Islam and Muslims as being 99% happy kind people. If you think the Christian Right is annoying with some of their laws and beliefs, Muslims that support Shariah law are like Crack Cocaine to the Christian Right's beer.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  12. James

    Yep–Stop apologizing and go back to the rocks and mountains. We damn sure don't want you here in the USA–

    October 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • AllenS

      Do you have an Irish, Italian, or Catholic heritage? What would you have said to the 'real Americans' that both said and did the same thing to those groups back then? Grow up, and accept that we're a melting pot.

      October 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Kyle

      I want him here. I want you here. I want you to not be such a hateful person too.

      October 27, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Meg

      Unless your forebearers were Native-then you too are an Immigrant my friend! We are all from somewhere else- but there are those like your KIND that forget that point. You would think after 5000 years we would regard ourselves as humans first! I mean really- I know it's a simplitic view but I think it's one that kinda works. Anyone, whether you are Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist etc..... insert religious affiliation here.... If you commit an act against humanity it is for YOUR reasons not some other higher power- the higher power I am familiar with does not play into that- stop blaming someone else for YOUR ACTIONS. Religion plays NO part in how you act towards your fellow "MAN". I mean come on, killing in the name of Religion- that is so 4000BC- time to elolve people!

      October 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Gill

      K When are you going back to walking everywhere? Cause your oil comes from the middle east or perhaps let's just invade the oil countries and not worry about it

      October 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  13. Andrew Fieldhammer

    Those of you who are all saying that, "Yeah, damn right those Muslims will apologize to me", you make me sick! I'm a 17 year old boy from a small town in Central Minnesota and my city is not very diversified compared to the rest of the country. In my grade have 350 kids and 8 are a minority. And 3 are even Muslim. And you know what, I don't expect them to apologize to me for what some extremists who call themselves Muslims did to our country! I remember that fateful day very well. My principal came onto the intercom and announced to everyone that there has been a terroristic attack on the United States. I didn't understand much then but now, especially on September 11, 2011 I got very emotional. I saw footage of people jumping from the twin towers in NY. And I felt so bad for them. That was the last thing they decided to do, was to jump. And that was all caused by a very small group of Muslim extremists. The Qur'an didn't command every person who prays to Mohammad "to go and mess with the US". as the article above stated. 99.99999999% of the 1.5 million Muslims didn't have s*** to do with anything that went down that day. So if all of you white people who were effected by the minority Muslim population, just think for one minute. If you want all Muslims to apologize to you for something they hadn't any control over, then all of us need to be apologizing for being so judgmental over a religion. I wish that people in this country didn't get so worked up over the smallest stupidest little things. I am the future of this country and I WILL make a difference. This is unacceptable for this day and age. Are you all not adults? If so, mature up! Aman Ali, thank you for sharing your such important opinion on this very controversial issue. I agree with you. You had no control over what happened. Every one who had someone that was lost in the attacks that day, it is the fault of the extremist group. NOT Aman Ali. Nor my Muslim friends, nor anyone who had no control over the situation. GOD and Mohammad I hope are both looking down on you with extreme disappointment I hope.

    Thank you to everyone who allows me to voice my small voice. I may be only 17 but I see things in an unbiased way.

    October 23, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Brian

      You're on the right track buddy. Be sure to not lose your fire, we'll need plenty of yous in the very near future. Thanks for your thoughts.

      October 24, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Karina

      THANK YOU!!!! Finally someone who speaks the right way. You are really a role model for me and many other people. I believe in everything you are saying and you really are on the right track! Everyone sees the world differently and in a harsh way and you are the future of America. I really do think that children see the best considering the fact that I am 14 and you are 17:)

      October 26, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  14. Hasai

    "....So why should I or any other Muslim apologize for what happened?"

    Maybe I'm simply listening to the wrong outlets, not not for the life of me can I recall ANY Muslim 'apologizing' for 9/11.

    ....I saw plenty of them dancing in the streets, though.

    October 20, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • lance

      It appears that only Fox News watchers, members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committtee (AIPAC), and Israel-Firsters ignore the fact that almost every Muslim country and almost every Muslim group of any importance has already condemned the 911 terrorist attacks numerous times!!! Do you belong to FOX, or AIPAC? Ohh, and yes Americans have not forgotten Israel's murderous attack on the unarmed sailors aboard the USS Liberty in international waters where Israel cold-bloodedly murdered 34 young Americans:
      http://www.gtr5.com/
      This is what survivor James Ennes says:
      http://www.wrmea.com/component/content/article/148-1993-june/7211-the-assault-on-the-uss-liberty-still-covered-up-after-26-years.html
      Twenty-six years have passed since that clear day on June 8, 1967 when Israel attacked the USS Liberty with aircraft and torpedo boats, killing 34 young men and wounding 171. The attack in international waters followed over nine hours of close surveillance. Israeli pilots circled the ship at low level 13 times on eight different occasions before attacking. Radio operators in Spain, Lebanon, Germany and aboard the ship itself all heard the pilots reporting to their headquarters that this was an American ship. They attacked anyway. And when the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime.

      There is no question that this attack on a U.S. Navy ship was deliberate. This was a coordinated effort involving air, sea, headquarters and commando forces attacking over a long period. It was not the "few rounds of misdirected fire" that Israel would have the world believe. Worse, the Israeli excuse is a gross and detailed fabrication that disagrees entirely with the eyewitness recollections of survivors. Key American leaders call the attack deliberate. More important, eyewitness participants from the Israeli side have told survivors that they knew they were attacking an American ship.

      October 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Imam Truth

      All mid-east Islamic countries had people dancing in the streets. These men were doing a good thing in the perverted eyes of Islam.

      The USS Liberty is brought up many times by Muslims to try to divide the US & Israel, but it is a pathetic attempt. The USS Liberty was a friendly fire incident. It happens all the time. The US intelligence ship was in an active combat zone and being an intelligence vessel had limited markings and was attacked by mistake.

      What is more interesting is the British bombing of the French warships in WWII. When France surrendered, British air force purposefully pummeled and sank the ships with ALL hands on board to keep the ships out of German hands. Definitely not an accident.

      October 27, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Lance

      Only Israel-Firsters claim that the attack on the USS Liberty was a friendly fire incident. According to survivors band intelligence intercepts of the attack done in several adjoining countries including Malta,Crete, turkey by US Forces, it was a deliberate attack done after several hours of surveillance by Israeli forces. This was confirmed at the highest levels of the US government, and most recently by Israeli pilots who participated in the attack on the USS Liberty and who have come out and directly said that they and their bosses knew that they were attacking an American naval vessel.
      As far as relations with Irael go, that nation has leeched hundreds of billions of dollars from We, The American Taxpayer, for fifty plus years and counting, has corrupted America's body politic, and is simply a burden on America.
      Enough is enough.
      Veterans, honor your brothers who died on the USS Liberty and demand a monument be established or a street dedicated in your own town or neighborhood to recognize and commemorate these brave young souls wantonly murdered by Israel on the USS Liberty without a peep from ell-out politicians from both the Republican and Democratic parties who slavishly grovel at the feet of the American Israel Public Affairs Committtee (AIPAC), and who have become Israel-Firsters rather than serve the interests of Americans!!!

      October 28, 2011 at 6:21 am |
  15. Gene

    Of all things, sad how Ignorance perpetuates through country. Just ask any immigrant. They will relate.

    October 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • LEGAL immigrant

      i'm an immigrant.... and i have absolutely no idea what you mean by "they will relate". you are the pathetic one. i love America, which is why i came here.... people like you are destroying it. I hate it when someone who is born here claims they know what an immigrant thinks... and lumps illegals in with the rest of us LEGAL immigrants. i worry some day the majority will be as ignorant as you and then the America i worked so hard to come to... will be gone. i apologize for my poor English... i'm still working.

      October 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  16. Pravda

    Muslims should stop apologizing for 9/11 (Though I don't know any who have) and denounce their faith in an evil cult. They should open their eyes to what their holy book the "Qur'an" says and urge others to do like wise. This is the only way that jihad will end.

    October 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tessa15

      How can you say that? If you really know about Islam you cant say such a thing. and You should NOT define Muslims as a group, ISLAM IS A RELIGION, RELIGION IS BETWEEN YOU AND GOD. NO ONE ELSE. you should NEVER say our religion is "evil" thats your own opinion, and no one asked for it. CNN is ridiculous for saying "all Muslims", this is what gives Muslims/Arabs a bad name. SOME people may have not done such good things, but why do all Muslims have to take the blame. You can not give ur honest opinion if you have never read the Quran.

      October 20, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  17. Rand

    Really.? Wow I am glad I don't know that crum bum butthead!

    October 14, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  18. Shrek

    You know what Rand,I don't care if you are a man or an itchy hore,just stay put and lick your idealism or whatsoever you're thinking in your pea brain moron!!!

    October 14, 2011 at 5:59 am |
  19. Rand

    You fetchin' Ogre (Shrek) who the hell you think you are?

    October 14, 2011 at 5:08 am |
  20. Shrek

    People are the same wherever you go,there's GOOD and BAD in everyone.In christian community or muslim the are all the same....Humanoid....

    October 14, 2011 at 4:55 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.