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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. yams

    How about they start apologizing?

    December 26, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  2. safa has

    I don't think it is about apologizing, it is about trying to know your stand on a critical matter.
    When Alqaida attacked Iraq after 2003, it tried to ignite a civil war. As Iraqi Shia Muslim, I am always looking for such answer from any Sunni Iraqi.
    I know that Alqaida hates most Sunni as well as all Shia, may be to less extent. Nevertheless, I keep trying to know if the Sunni that I meet is one of the 1 in ten million.
    I encounter same question when ever declaring my Iraqi dependence to my fellow Americans, " Do you like the get rid of Saddam?" What can I answer when my though goes always into " why do you helped such criminal to kill us for so long time?"

    !

    December 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  3. Osarenren Ihaza

    The mst difficult thing to understand: Muslim psychology.

    December 23, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  4. DSBsky

    Nice way to prove your racist. "Should I ask white people to apologize for that?" Idk, should I ask black people to apologize for overcrowding our prisons? or Hispanic people to appologise for illegal immigration? Way to spotlight a whole race and show your true racist colors.

    December 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  5. Craig

    Find me the sorry, where is it? I can find you numerous muslims who support what happened, my brother is one of them.

    December 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Chris Burns

      The whole premise of this weak quibble is false. WHEN were muslims asked to apologize for 9/11??? Did we EVER insist on an official statement from a representative of theirs. That's a big fat NO. And I don't have space to refute all his other errors.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:37 am |
  6. Karina

    As I look at most of the comments, many people are saying, "I still haven't heard an apology." In my opinion, I think that an apology in this case is not an "I'm sorry" from the Muslim people. But rather from those who are prejudice to the Muslims. I know you are all thinking I am some crazy teenager, which is probably true, but in my opinion we are pinning this event on an entire religion. There were a few select Islamic people who were terrorists, not the religion as a whole. Sure some people may have supported it, but not all together. Think about the KKK. White people are part of this group, but I don't need an apology from everyone who is fair skinned. I just say, "it's just some people who aren't as accepting or have different beliefs." Another point I would like to make is that people have basically made Muslim people outcasts. Like in high school, you have the populars and then there is the loners. This is what society does. If I see a Muslim person, I know this is wrong, but I really don't want to be seen with them. And my dad's side of the family is Muslim, but I am Catholic. I feel horrible for doing this,but after 9/11 I am just scared about life. And the people in it.

    December 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Greg

      At least someone has an open mind, and has actually read this article without bigotry

      December 25, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Travis

      Well Karina, to start with you can't compare a fair skin or white person to the KKK. Majority of white people are disgusted with the KKK. Now, most of the dark skin people from the middle east are muslims. That is a known fact. I am much older than you and I have watched the news for many years. Every time they show anything about the middle east where the muslims are it' has always been about fighting and killing. Being a white person myself I DESPISE the KKK and any other group that thinks they are the only true religion and looks down on other religions. The Muslims have fought for years and killed because of their religion. They don't even believe that Jesus died for our sins. Just like the KKK the muslims don't even live by the ten commandments since they are a religious group it seems as if they would. They both do the unthinkable. that commandment is Tho shalt not kill. I hope you will do research on the Muslims and really see what the Muslim relligion is really about.

      March 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  7. what

    Personally I have never heard any muslim, on TV – show any guilt or shame or remorse for 9/11. (and nor should they if they had no involvement). However I have, seen many many- support it, and openly and proudly proclaim they're support. Sad to say such a thing, but unfortunately is true- and Im talking about american citizens, which makes it so scary.

    December 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  8. Get Real

    Comparing human lives to juice just proves how the mind of someone who believes in a book roughly 1376 years old works. Unlike the group that just sits back and says "oh no look at _____ is spilling the juice again, what a silly guy." The rest of the world is trying to stop that from happening and is holding people accountable for their actions. If your sick of apologizing for that group then disassociate from them completely. Free yourself from all of this and you won't have to seek pity with whiny online CNN articles. "Boo-hoo others don't like it when people I'm associated with kill people." No one is asking you to apologize for something you did not do. Grow up and deal with the root problem. Open your mind.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:53 am |
  9. i dont like it either cancel the show

    lets realize these so called american-muslims are wolves in sheep's clothing doing what they can to recruit, these people breed and teach hatred, we have stupid news agencies like CNN that allow them to play the victim card and give them airtime to ask "i dont know why america hates us... i thought this was america?" ask all the 9/11 victims why they hate us, oh wait they're dead they cant answer, these hateful people target unarmed innocent people, cowardly. its not just a few bad apples in a bushel, because when i watch the news i see embassies being stormed by the hundreds and masses burning flags and protesting the U.S. by the hundreds if not thousands, they do this publicly , and muslims want us to give them a chance, ill tell you(muslims) what, stay in your country and we'll stay in ours, we dont need you here. Get 'em Lowes.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • Troy

      Mate to compare the average Muslim with a terroist is to compare the average christian with nutters like David Kerrish (SIC) ,called Christians of the ayran nation or the pastor/priest who abuse someone., We know these people were / and still are nutters but we dont brandish the religion or the average person in the same light..... rememeber if we want one community to own those who do evil then we to must own those who do evil yet call themselves christian ....

      God bless

      December 23, 2011 at 1:20 am |
  10. Z

    By the way, I'm Christian if you were wondering.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:05 am |
  11. James

    Look Up the interviews and the writings of Dr. Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) who is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the US Army War College. Dr. Alan Sabrosky is also the former director of studies at the US Army War College. Look him up and see what he has to say about the events of 911 from the perspectives of a person who knows about war and politics and world affairs. He has consulted with the top people in the military, and he has come to the conclusion that Muslims and Arabs had absolutely no hand in the planing and the execution of the 911 events. They only ended up being the ones that got blamed for it! He says that he and the Top US military people are 100% certain that Muslims did not carry out the 911 attacks. He and the US military know exactly who did the 911 attacks, and they are 100% certain of it!! Look him up and find out who really planed and carried out the 911 attacks, and how the real criminals were able to get away with this crime.

    December 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Benjamin Smith

      You are so stupid!

      December 12, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • i dont like it either cancel the show

      lets realize these so called american-muslims are wolves in sheep's clothing doing what they can to recruit, these people breed and teach hatred, we have stupid news agencies like CNN that allow them to play the victim card and give them airtime to ask "i dont know why america hates us... i thought this was america?" ask all the 9/11 victims why they hate us, oh wait they're dead they cant answer, these hateful people target unarmed innocent people, cowardly. its not just a few bad apples in a bushel, because when i watch the news i see embassies being stormed by the hundreds and masses burning flags and protesting the U.S. by the hundreds if not thousands, they do this publicly , and muslims want us to give them a chance, ill tell you(muslims) what, stay in your country and we'll stay in ours, we dont need you here. Get 'em Lowes.

      Read more: Lowe’s Threatened With Lawsuit for Pulling Ad from Muslim Program | Godfather Politics http://godfatherpolitics.com/2604/lowes-threatened-with-lawsuit-for-pulling-ad-from-muslim-program/#ixzz1gZtLS7DS

      December 15, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  12. akshay

    really man,when have muslims seriously apologised for 9/11. The guys who did this and the guys who" supported" this were definitely muslim. The same cannot be said about nickleback fans. you are just making a joke out of this serious issue

    December 5, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Howard

      BREAKING NEWS !!! ...

      Obama appointed two devout Muslims to homeland security posts.

      Obama and Janet Napolitano appointed Arif Alikhan, a devout Muslim,
      as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development.
      DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano swore-in Kareem Shora, a devout Muslim,
      who was born in Damascus , Syria , as ADC National Executive Director
      as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC).

      NOTE: Has anyone ever heard a new government official being identified
      as a devout Catholic, a devout Jew or a devout Protestant...?
      hhhmmm......Just wondering.

      Devout Muslims being appointed to critical Homeland Security-positions?
      Doesn't this make you feel safer already?
      That should make our homeland much safer, huh!?

      Was it not "Devout Muslim men" that flew planes into U..S. buildings on 9/11?
      Was it not a Devout Muslim who killed 13 at Fort Hood ?

      December 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Ben Lynwood

      Akshay your wrong im not a muslim but i believe it was the radical Muslims that did all the terriost attacks not the regular muslims. and dude he is not trying to make a joke hes trying to defend the regular Muslims

      December 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • Benjamin

      You are ignorant!

      December 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Benjamin

      Ben L,
      You are absolutely correct.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  13. Bruce

    Strange, but of all the “people” I know in this country, I don’t recall hearing anyone ever demand that a particular Muslim apologize. Nor would I ever expect any Muslim (or journalist) not directly affiliated with terrorists to apologize. What bothers me about the article though, is the reference that “100’s of Islamic organizations condemned the attacks” after 9/11. For several years after 9/11, I distinctly remember asking out loud, “why don’t leaders of these Islamic groups go on national TV and fully denounce all terrorists. Also, to state that the terrorists are criminals, and will burn for eternity, etc.. Don’t tell me they did not have the opportunity. I watched and read the news faithfully every day, and never once heard it. Instead the local leaders that were interviewed repeatedly talked about how they didn’t want people of other religions to associate them with terrorists. That is in no way or form denouncing terrorists. Instead, they were portraying themselves as potential “victims”. All it would have taken was for 10 or 20 leaders of the world’s largest mosques to issue a “collective statement” condemning the attacks, and forbid any similar actions in the future. I, as well as most Americans, would have looked at Islam in a much more positive light. But that did not happen. Only several years after the attacks have I heard anything from prominent Muslims that is remotely close to denouncing terrorists as criminals. I would love to read any articles prior to 2010 that quotes any one of these Islamic leaders emphatically calling terrorists infidels, and that they are not welcome in any Islamic place of worship. I’m pretty sure you won’t find one.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  14. Hawkynne

    I completely agree with you. Is it so hard to see that it is not what a person believes that causes terrible events such as 9/11. It is what they choose to do with it. Terrorists wrap a shroud of religious virtue about an agenda that they want to promote. Being raised as a Christian, I find it hypocritical to point a finger at Islam and say it is more radical. To those who do I would suggest you head over the library and crack open a book about Christian activities through history

    December 2, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • i dont like it either cancel the show

      lets realize these so called american-muslims are wolves in sheep's clothing doing what they can to recruit, these people breed and teach hatred, we have stupid news agencies like CNN that allow them to play the victim card and give them airtime to ask "i dont know why america hates us... i thought this was america?" ask all the 9/11 victims why they hate us, oh wait they're dead they cant answer, these hateful people target unarmed innocent people, cowardly. its not just a few bad apples in a bushel, because when i watch the news i see embassies being stormed by the hundreds and masses burning flags and protesting the U.S. by the hundreds if not thousands, they do this publicly , and muslims want us to give them a chance, ill tell you(muslims) what, stay in your country and we'll stay in ours, we dont need you here. Get 'em Lowes. if you would have lost a brother or friend on 9/11 i wonder how you would have felt.

      December 15, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  15. Terry Fowler

    Sure all religions have their fair share, Muslims have more than than their fair share. As long as terrorist acts continue, condemnation is a requirement.
    "What Muslims need is an extreme makeover." They need to jump from the 12th century to the 21st.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  16. chad cudnohoske

    great nickelback comment hahaha

    November 30, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  17. Daimar

    most of the people I know do not think all muslims are extremist. i honestly think more white americans think that than any other race.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  18. twalsh4440

    The Muislim religion is a Abomination must be ended. Send all Muslims back to their countries just the most horrendous of things the world has ever seen

    November 28, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • Mitch

      sicko and dumbo watch this
      http://www.youtube.com/user/NufffRespect#p/c/3CB1CD960E75FF17/18/9yTgbZSATTU

      What your christian brothers did to dumb asz people like u

      November 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Benjamin

      You are an ignorant fool. You realize, the Bible and the Koran have their similarities: the Bible tells you to beat your wife, and the Koran says that women are a man's possession. However, the Koran also says that God created men and women for the mutual benefit of each-other. It's all about how you interpret them. You also have to remember that the Bible is made of pieces of literature and letters written by a bunch of dudes, each with a historical and literary context. You stink!

      December 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Seriously

      Ididot!!! Just because a person is Muslim doesn't mean they are from another country. There are many Muslims born and raised in the United States. If you don't know what you are talking about, shut the F up!

      December 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  19. Chris

    Mr. Ali,
    Your math is wrong, by many orders of magnitude (an order of magnitude is wrong by 10x).
    99.999999% – about this number, a dozen, were the hijackers on the planes
    99.999% – this is 15,000 people
    99.99% – 150,000 people, certainly much closer to the actual number of suicide bombers + their bosses + other fringe wacko Muslims
    Your fanatical number of 9s after the decimal point were 100x more than you need to get even one person.

    November 27, 2011 at 2:27 am |
    • Mitch

      What your christian brothers did to dumb asz people like u

      http://www.youtube.com/user/NufffRespect#p/c/3CB1CD960E75FF17/18/9yTgbZSATTU

      November 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Daimar

      while what you say is true, it is most likely that the number is much higher than he said but only an ignorant person would "nick pick" and not get the point that not all Muslims are extremist.

      November 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  20. yourworstnightmare

    So, then if the quaran puts down terrorism then why all the terrorists man?

    November 27, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • RainnMakerr

      When bible puts down adultery (levitacus 20:10). why so many cheatings and non ligit children?

      December 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Seriously

      FYI- many people claim to have a religion but don't actually practice it.

      December 14, 2011 at 9:20 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.