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. Sebastian Van Goober

    Yeah...those kweer muslims need to come out of the closet and let me suck on their big sand nig ger D!CKS.

    November 25, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  2. mark shiro

    those alleged moderate muslims need to come out publicly and loudly against those who did and will again do us harm. they need to go on record as saying that they find this sort of thing repulsive.

    November 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  3. John

    I would first ask, why would the question of "What do you think of 9/11" make you sick. There were thousands of lives taken that day in an instant. Maybe the person just wants your view. Secondly, why would you even feel compelled to apologize. Do you feel guilty of something. I would have never have became offensive of a question garnered to me in a quest for someone's understanding and surely would not feel obligated for an apology unless some guilt may lie deep within. I am sorry but it sounds as if you don’t mourn the loss of thousands of people that lost their and that you may not hold the values of this country dear to your heart.

    November 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Abu

      It is assumed the question is: "What do you [as a Muslim] think about 9/11?" The author is sickened by the misconception that he would be any less horrified by that terrible event simply because he is a Muslim.

      You're second question reinforces the author's point in this article. Why should he have to apologize for anything? Should he apologize he shares a faith with brainwashed extremists who have twisted the religion to fit their needs?

      November 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  4. RAWoD

    Agnostics would agree that all organized religions need a make over.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  5. Greg

    I think you perfectly expressed what needed to be said here: America has watched 10 years go by and still a far-too-large group of Americans have generalized about the Muslim faith. This of course comes about only out of fear and misunderstanding, but considering that an entire decade has passed, one would assume that fear/misunderstanding would have dissipated; unfortunately, that day still seems to be far off.

    November 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • jonathan

      9/11 was a wake up call , but I see you have pushed the snooze button and turned back over top sleep some more. Muslims should not have to apologize for the attacks that day , but for a religion that in Muslim majority nations , provide little or no protections to minorities.. The blasphemy laws in Pakistan is a good example..Why are there no Muslim minority nations on the earth, no not a one that practices and supports freedom of religious convictions and protects religious converts , except for the Fascist State Syria and Turkey to some extent ?

      November 24, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  6. Don't ever expect forgiveness

    Don't ever expect forgiveness until you straighten out your so called religion that persecutes anyone who disobeys it or disbeleives it! Put that in your hash pot and smoke it.

    November 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  7. jeddah

    lol i suppose if muslims must apologize for the acts of ones who claim the same beliefs and do wrong..then CALLING ALL WHITE PEOPLE!!! gonna need apologies for slavery..dont care if you didnt personally own beat abuse or murder africans..
    CRAZY!!! lol

    November 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • jonathan

      I'm sorry could you please elaborate a little better, what you're trying to say?

      November 24, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  8. jeddah

    thank you for your articles...you make me smile!! so candid lol

    November 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • jonathan

      jeddah , I know how you feel being the front line of Muslims that bear the brunt of the blowback from anxious Americans who want their pre 9/11 world back . But the problem is we can never go back and as you might see , Muslims will always be held responsible to Osama Bin laden's crime against all humanity....The problem you face is that, those of us who have read the Koran since the attack can easily see Osama's point of view along with Islamic nations practicing pretty much the form if Islam in many of the same principals as Osama observed..which is a total intolerance of Christian or any other form of religious practice being restricted; Where as in this country you enjoy all he same freedoms and protections as any other religious practice, including the majority Christian.. Just think about this....you could be arrested in any other Muslim country except Syria or Turkey for expressing your views if you were a Christian in that nation.. very telling.. this is the resentment you will face in the USA ..therefore you and all Muslims in America might consider taking it upon yourselves to fight for the rights of other religious minorities in Muslim nations.. you would then feel no blowback in this country 🙂 🙂 🙂

      November 24, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  9. John Geheran

    Say what you will but the fact is that Islamic sacred texts stand alone amongst the religions of this world that COMMAND believers to be intolerant – or worse – of non-believers. Mercifully, the majority of Muslims either ignore or are ignorant of these prescriptive passages.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • jonathan

      yeah but it only took 18-19 to do a 9/11 with a little financial support from a devoted Muslim like Osama Bin laden..and look at the very religious Iranian regime today..They are the new Osama Bin laden but much more vile ...

      November 24, 2011 at 9:55 am |

    I'm thrilled that everyone has an opportunity to speak their mind. Each person is responsible for their own actions and not the actions of others. If all Muslims were terrorists, there would be no one left in the world. They would have killed everyone already since there's almost 2 billion of them out of 6 billion people. That means each one is responsible to take out 3 infidels. They've had plenty of opportunity. You do the math. If you're still alive, that means we were wrong about them. Can't we all just get along.

    November 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • jonathan

      on 9/11 18 or 19 took out nearly 3000.. now we have a rogue Iranian regime, much more vile and lethal than Osama BL ever dreamed.. you do the math 🙂

      November 24, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  11. Really?

    Are you kidding me, your religion is the reason that my aunt is dead and you expect me to believe you shouldnt apologize for the fact that you cause my uncle untold suffering. If your religion really wasn't messed up then how come muslims are the ones always causing problems in world, trying to get nukes to blow up the infidels and saying just because you are not muslim you are inferior. If you are really against all this terrorism why don't you do something about it instead of just looking the other way and not helping to get rid of them with force which is the only thing that they understand. Its hard to spread these kinds of ideals if everyone who believes in this killing is dead.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Lily

      Was Islam really the reason that happened? If it was, why don't we see the 1.5 billion other Muslims committing such crimes?
      That's right, because that's NOT what Islam preaches, and Muslims understand that. Nobody should blame the Muslims of the world for what a handful of people who claim to be Muslims did, just like nobody blames the Christians of the world for Christians for the heinous crimes of the KKK.
      This is a plan to dehumanize Muslims in the eyes of the rest of the world, so when it's time to invade their countries, no one objects.

      November 17, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • jeddah

      then again you could also say that christianity is the reason so many of my slave ancestors were hung beaten tortured and murdered....?????...you cannot blame an ENTIRE RELIGION nor ENTIRE RACE nor GROUP OF PEOPLE for the acts of a few people who perhaps GOT THE MSG WRONG or used it for something that it was never intended for...the fact is ISLAM is about peace..also so is the teaching of JESUS CHRIST..so do a little reading for yourself..open up your mind and read the text for yourself..

      November 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • jonathan

      Muslims in America have never known the suffering of Muslims who converted to Christianity in Muslim lands.. in this the 21 century.. 🙂 🙂

      November 24, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  12. 4158

    this is the same as asking the catholic church to apologize for the genocide of Indians in the american when they conquered the new world. its the past you cant blame a whole religion for what happened its nonsense. every culture and religion has evil its a common rule so why try to blame them for this barbaric act of evil. if i am catholic it does not mean that i am responsible for child molestation as well as the genocide of Indians 500 years ago.

    November 12, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • josh

      yeah why not they are not white so its okay.But every white face in america better be sorry for everything thats happened in the past 300yrs here or ur heartless racist that wants slavery back i love how if ur not white ur not held for what the rest of ur race does like white people

      November 16, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • jonathan

      They should be apologizing to the people who were subjugated and slaughtered.. yes, They're guilty...

      November 24, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  13. Pablo

    Muslims groups have not apologized. When did you see ANY moderate islamic group make ANY public statements against radical Islam? You don't.

    Many muslims overseas and some here and in Britain are openly hostile to western way of life and other religions.

    CNN is full of it again.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Shareef Beane

      Go to every mainstream Islamic website and go to youtube and type in Muslims apologize for 9/11. Ok!

      November 16, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • jonathan

      That's right blame a news organization..LOL 🙂

      November 24, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  14. Alex

    Apologize..what you all need to do reexamine your faith. I've read enough of the Koran to know Mohammed plagiarizer everything he wrote and included enough of the good things of God, things most people know to be inherently true, to entice people to follow him. He lived in an area where the core belief of Christianity was being debated. Is God a Trinity, How can God be Three persons? Is it right to display images of the divine? Was Jesus the Son of God or just a man and a prophet?
    He took the stance of Arius and rejected the idea of a Trinity. He took parts of the bible "The book' and complied his own version along with his ramblings to make something look Holy and original. He took his ideas and the Knowledge of One God and tried to convert the pagans at the time. Like all great manipulators he had enough of the truth to convince good people to follow him but at the same time catered to the violent by promising a passionate heaven full of material wealth and comfort. ...All the virgins, wine and soft pillows you want.

    As as far as violence, Islam was born in violence and intimidation. From it's beginning Mohammed and his followers made a conquest of all of Arabia and eventual his followers spread to Greece and the rest of the civilized world at that time.
    I know Muslims like Christians are sincere about there love towards God, however if you read as history on Islam it's quite obvious that Mohammed beliefs stem from a sort of heretical view of Christianity. Read " A Critique of Islam" by St. John of Damascus who being alive during the time suffered at the hand of Muslim rulers (they cut of his hand). Look at the whole idea of "Honor Killings" ....there is a pastor in Iran right know(Youcef Nadarkhani) fighting for his life for being called a apostate because he rejected Mohammed and his Islam.

    Apologize...no... Make over...that's an understatement. What you good Muslims need is honestly look at your religion and it's doctrine and fatwa's and ask yourself is this real of from God.

    November 10, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Shareef Beane

      None of what you said is historically true. None of it. There is not a single historical accuracy in what you've written and no, you did not read the Quran.

      November 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Lily

      It is a fundamental concept in Islam that it copied Christianity and Judaism and added its own rules and teachings. The reason Islam appeared was because both earlier religions had been altered.

      November 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • jonathan

      What's history's got to do with it Shareef? The claims by alex are legit..one can read and see the spin made by Muhammad and his klan,,, 🙂 🙂

      November 24, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  15. Gary

    They said Im Sorry? When!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Dude

      Wow, I thought I was the only one who missed them saying they were sorry. Stop apologizing? When did they start? When and where were they apologizing? I've seen plenty of passionate responses and protests when Muslims think they have been insulted but have never seen that fervor over the slaughter of 3,000 innocent civilians.

      November 13, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • jonathan

      They apologized inwardly 🙂 🙂 🙂

      November 24, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • jonathan

      They haven't apologized , but they do feel guilty and they are suffering just like everybody else because of the attacks on 9/11...

      November 24, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  16. joe1233

    True, not all Muslims committed the atrocity of 9/11. However, not all Muslims are also not standing against the violence, oppression and hatred that Islam promotes so fervently either. Granted there may be some Muslims out there who speak against these things but the leaders of Islam frequently do or say nothing in the wake of violence done by "some" Muslims. You never hear of Islamic leader condemning the bombing of markets or murders of those who disagree with Islam.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  17. jbm66

    Who is asking you to apologize? All we want is for the sane people in your community to drown the voices of the insane people of your community and not buy into all this conspiracy theory BS. Granted there are insane people in every religion. But there seems to be an exponetial amount of more people in your religion that are insane, than the other religions that have a propensity for violence and hatred. Instead of going after these violent ignorants with a big loud voice, you have been shutting your mouth for decades and even quietly support them.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  18. jon

    I wasn't aware they had ever started apologizing...

    November 6, 2011 at 6:35 am |
  19. hey kiss my ass islam

    oh please and Sharia law is happy and colorful right stop listening to a dam book written by a guy you never met. Swear to GOd all religions are like dam zombies think for your self dammit

    November 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  20. DAMN.

    Regarding Muslims Trying to implement Sharia law in America or England. I am totally against it and I think they should start in Muslim countries first.

    November 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
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.