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. William Demuth

    I am so looking forward to the resolution of the Arab spring!

    Once half a billion or more become free of dictatorship, this world will once again be shaken to its core.

    If the Muslims actualy manage to unite in some Pan Arab group, I suspect that millions of Christians will freeze to death in short order!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  2. Ann

    I heartily concur, but good luck with the commenters on this site. It's the go-to place for racism trolls. (Speaking of which, who's going to apologize for their trolling brethren?)

    September 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Answer

      Well Ann,

      What is the definition of a troll to you? Anybody you disagree with?
      It's a label you slap onto someone – that's my opinion. I can consider myself a troller. I won't be apologizing for that.
      Clearly it's good luck retort that I hope you'll achieve what you want.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  3. Dennis

    Muslims have been apologizing for 911? Humm,, Ive never heard a single apology!

    Anyway, maybe they can start policing their own!
    it's high time they try to stop the hate speech and start modernizing themselevs.
    Not saying anything against hate speech is the same as accepting it.
    Muslims are famous for not saying or doing anything about it!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Mohammed

      I dont know about the other 1 billion people, but I for one will never apologize for something i never did .

      September 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @Muhammed – You don't think you should apologize or atleast explain how they are misrepresenting your religion? I, for one, certainly explain to ppl that the Westboro and the likes of Fred Phelps (among others) do NOT in any way shape or form represent Christiantiy. I will apologize if any of their words have hurt people, while also stating that they are not what Christianity is about.

      Your response is exactly why so many people have disdain for your kind. Don't even both to denounce the actions.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @Mohammed – You don't think you should apologize or atleast explain how they are misrepresenting your religion? I, for one, certainly explain to ppl that the Westboro and the likes of Fred Phelps (among others) do NOT in any way shape or form represent Christiantiy. I will apologize if any of their words have hurt people, while also stating that they are not what Christianity is about.

      Your response is exactly why so many people have disdain for your kind. Don't even both to denounce the actions.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "I, for one, certainly explain to ppl that the Westboro and the likes of Fred Phelps (among others) do NOT in any way shape or form represent Christiantiy"
      No self-respecting Christian should have to legitimately apologize for the actions of the Westboro church because anyone with more than 10 brain cells can figure out that Westboro doesn't represent xtianity. The same is true here for muslims.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Fact


      Who did westbro kill?

      September 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Mohammed

      @alfonzo. IF you want to know how they misrepresented the religion, then ask. Thats different then someone coming up to you and asking for an apology for something you werent even there for

      September 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Fact. No one. What's your point, exactly? The ana.logy is still apt. Substi.tute Westboro with the Norwegian fundamentalist or the Oklahoma City Bombing.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Fact


      so what is the point in calling out westboro if they are not violent? and you are so very sure the other two you have mentioned are Christians????

      September 7, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Sublime619

      Obviously you haven't done much research. Try google and type "Muslims condemn terrorism." Thousands of hits will come up and have you been to the mainstream American Muslim organization websites? Are you aware of the 600 page book in english on a fatwa condemning terrorism and suicide? Looks like you dont read much so how can you claim that you havent heard of anything?

      September 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • Connie

      Agreed. It's hard to stop doing something you've never done.

      September 12, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
  4. Mike

    "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%)." Of course they are. The mainstream media coddles them while ridiculing and dismissing all other faiths.

    What's not to like?

    September 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Robert

      The mainstream media coddles muslims????? When did that happen?

      September 7, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  5. peter

    Look, muslims should stop saying they are sorry, it is the Americans(70% of the population) who don't even remember when 9/11 happened, I'm a christian and I say we should start saying we are sorry to muslims for our actions of discrimination. Young muslim children get bullied in school because americans don't know what the difference between crazy and normal. Anyway americans made a big Hallaballu (I bet Americans don't know what it means) over 9/11 when 3000 people died, but when Americans(with the help of the Israelis) blew up a building in Lebanon when 3500+ people died the lebanese didn't make such a fuss.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Dennis

      non factual absurdiities

      September 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • someone who can read

      thank you peter for NOT talking about lebanese. i am lebanese and that never happened in Lebanon. don't lie on our behalf and go back to ur bubble.. and by the way, grow some b**** and use a name related to your own religion, get it "Peter"?!

      September 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  6. Garry Gillbert

    I Gary Gilbert, apologize for the Crusades. I think that Richard should have done more to secure the coast and create a longer lasting christian kingdom. If we had to apologize for every thing i wouldnt be taken seriously as a media person. Get over it, and try media suppositories

    September 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      Thank you Gary. It's about effin time someone apologized. It only took how many years?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • USmellLikePoo

      Hey, look, it's my cousin!!! What up cousin? We really should shower ya know.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  7. Mik

    I refuse to have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  8. Jill

    Well, so long as your sorry.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  9. a concerned HUMAN

    DO U REALLY WANNA GO THERE?!?! the world is full with examples of people, governments, groups... who are still apologizing until now for stuff happened decades, and even centuries ago. i'm not saying it's right or wrong, all i'm saying is that:

    – more than 90% of germans alive today were born after 1945, yet certain people and groups and governments still point the finger (even though the germans now are literally the "good guys" of Europe in politics, economy, social. . . )

    – i'm not sure but i guess 100% of christians, and especially catholics, living today were not born in the 10th and 11th century, however the pope John Paul II felt that it deserved an apology (even though i personally don't agree on apologizing cos i agree with u that it was a LOOOOOONG time ago... 1000 years are long enough, don't u think?!

    – Afrikaners appologized for the apartheid (even though white people are still living in South Africa under a black president for the last couple of decades and did not run off.. that means not all white people were on board with the racist regime). Black south africans did not seek vengeance and white south africans did not freak out.

    – and so on and so on...

    on the other hand, you can be like the below:

    – Turkey annihilated 2.000.000 armenians and still no "apology" (even though turkey gained land and still denies it even happened). 2.000.000 armenians just disappeared and hitler used that as an excuse to annihilate the jews saying: "who remembers the armenian genocide?"

    – the US dropped 2 atomic bombs on 3 cities killing more than 200000 civilians in less than 10 seconds (still no apology; Nancy Pelosi is not the president, so that apology doesn't count)

    – Israel did not and still won't and i don't think it would ever apologize to everything happened and still happening and will definitely happen in the palestinian territories (u wanna be like Israel?! that would a a first!!!)

    – i'm still waiting for apologies of the last 14 centuries leading until today fo whatever happened and still is happening to the christians, and other minorities, in the middle east and other muslim countries. Atrocities, massacres, genocides, deportations.. among other nouns that comes to mind. how do i know? I KNOW COS I WAS BORN AND SILL LIVING IN THE MIDDLE EAST

    – and so on and so on. . .

    there's a local saying in my country which is roughly translated to: "don't throw rocks when your house is from glass"

    September 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • William Demuth

      a concerned HUMAN

      I have a freind who insists 40 percent of ALL German wedding rings were formerly Jewish teeth.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Mik

      2 bombs? 3 cities? I knew we split the atom in 1945, but this seems to stretch it to a new level.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  10. Uneducated Cruise Lines


    Train? No it's a ship. The word "Cruise" was your clue.

    Welcome aboard sailor!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  11. Lynda

    II don't recall anyone from the American Muslim community speak up CONDEMNING the attacks against the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I don't recall ever hearing them stand up for AMERICA! All I'm hearing is mealy mouthing and whatever it is they say about us in their personal language. (I would really appreciate all who were members of the "Crusades" to stand up and apologize – but they're DEAD but I'm not apologizing for the Crusades because I wasn't there.)

    IIf the Muslims don't like it, then they can pack up and go home. Besides, in their little communities, there are little cells we should keep an eye on. Do NOT become complacent, Be Ever Vigilant!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Jess

      Go home? They are home, seeing as how they are AMERICANS.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I got two words for you

      Muhammed Ali.

      Nuff said!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      If blacks can keep demanding retribution for for what was done to their ancestors hundreds of years ago then we can still hold the christians accountable for the crusades. One good turn deserves another.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Mohammed

      @lynda. Oh Lynda, doesnt ever get old listening to the same crap on the radio and tv? I mean common, even if you had every Muslim come on tv, and for 24 hours of the news cycle they spoke up against it, people like you wouldnt listen, because people like you are blinded by everything except that which they want to hear. There have been plenty of Muslims who condemned and spoke up against 9/11, but no one like you wants to listen. Lets see, Muhammd Ali, the King of Jordan, the Imaam at the Masjid I pray in, My Uncle, a bunch of Muslims in the UK.. and on and on and on.

      Just give it a rest my dear because **Yawn** its reaaaaalllyyy ooooolldddd that argument you have

      September 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • J.W

      Lynda do you remember the Casey Anthony case. Why do we not keep an eye on women? They want to exterminate our children so they can party.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  12. fair question?


    You mentioned math but did not type the number. 1.5 billion *.001, means there are 1.5 million Muslims out there activly and I mean very activly planning harm to others including Mulims who don't share their specific sect (and I think that is ultra conservative). I have never seen or heard of that number of chistians activly planning, let alone wishing death to Muslims. This does not even take into account those on the fence or who are killing to establish there own indepenent states in already established country borders.
    You do not need to applogize to me or anyone else, but as a members of the muslim community all should be focused on rooting out faith based extemisim in a community widely closed to outsiders. We don't need to agree with your religious beliefs in order to disagree with the tactics used by so many fundamintalist zealots in your religion. Speak out against the Imam who preaches hate and violence against anyone, expose them and bring it into the light in America, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, anywhere it happens. It does not happen like that unfortunatly, can you understand the distrust of so many in those terms.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • William Demuth

      You really can't believe that can you?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  13. Old Texan 4071

    As a Muslim you need to step forward and quit condemning the US and West for shortcomings of your culture. I'm really sick of hearing Muslims whine-while they are trying to get into European countries and the US. Look at your countries and make them productive with equality for all people-including women.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • William Demuth

      So true.

      Like old dogs with bad bladders, they wet their own bed, then want to lay in yours.

      If you let them in, you WILL be sorry when you finally wake up.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      Fix their own country? It doesn't work for the Mexicans, why should it work for the Muslims?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  14. jake

    HELLO AMAN ALI. could please give me the address where i can donate money for the building of whabbi maddrasses throughout the world. i love their message of peace. for instance, "death to america, death to israel, death to infidels.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • William Demuth

      1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

      September 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  15. Ali

    Apologies? that is unfair to ask.

    Are all the Atheist apologizing for leaving such crass comments on the belief blog.?

    The muslim will apologise only after the atheists apologize first.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I apologize if I have offended you or your wife the goat.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Policy

      Fair enough, you can Apologize after the atheists, not only do the athiests leave tasteless comments they also constantly steal handle

      September 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      I'm sorry for your butthurt.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • William

      How 'bout you apologize for supporting a political machine disguised as theology?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Wahid

      atheists not only steal handle but also make fun of the flying spaghetti monster.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  16. john h

    actually I think aman ali has touched on a very important point. White people should be made to apologize for nickleback.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm |

    Muslims like to play victim or martyrs but, what about crimes against Christians in Arabian countries? Muslims play nice just because they can't slip your throat. But wait, just wait.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • William Demuth

      So whats the score

      If dead Muslims are points, the Christians are on top of that division by like a million points or more!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  18. Alfonzo Muchanzo

    Ummm, this guy does realize Nickelback isn't quite the same as terrorism correct? Just making that comparison makes his whole argument that of dung.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • William

      He is a comedian, and you are useless.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  19. ru serious

    ....hadn't realized that any Muslims had apologized, news to me. Their condemnation has been uh duh...deafening? Guess they were too busy danicng in the street. Stop apologizing? They need to start apologizing before they can STOP apolgizing. Wish they would all just leave and take their nasty religion with them...

    September 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Your television has more than one channel. You know that, right?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Dan the Red

      exactly what I was thinking.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I guess they didn't have that part on ESPN?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @Stevie – I watch MSNBC, the most liberal of the news network, and I haven't seen them showing Muslims apologizing.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @Stevie – I watch MSNBC, which is the most liberal of the news network, and I haven't seen them showing Muslims apologizing.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Sublime619

      Obviously you dont read or research much. Simple exercise. Go to google and type "Muslims condemn terrorism" and I guarantee you a score of hits.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Maybe you need to to unmute your tv. This took about a half a second to find. http://dailynightly.msnbc.com/2006/08/speaking_to_mus.html

      Do you enjoy being such a huge bigot?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • mr awesome

      Maybe YOU should apologize and take your "nasty" religion and leave this country because it was your religion and race that came over the this country and slaughtered an uncountable number of Native Americans, destroyed several religions and wrecked an entire continents worth of heritage and culture.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @Stevie – Well I'm sorry that I can't watch tv 24hrs a day 7 days a week, as to catch every single news story. Calling me a bigot is definitely justified thought. Shows who the real bigot is.

      BTW I help all those in need, no matter race, gender or religion. You're real smart though, claiming to know my innermost thoughts.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  20. jon

    Nevermind how he feels about the 9/11 attacks. I'd ask him what he thinks of the Jewish State of Israel. That's the real hypocrisy with most of the American Muslims these days. They'll say they cried when they saw the towers fell, saddened at the tremendous loss of life from the four aircraft disasters that day, and even go so far as to say they were angered by the extremists of their own religion. But when you ask them what their feelings are towards Palestinian terrorism, they'll immediately revert back to defending their own and suggest that the Israelis were the provokers with their settlements. You build a house on our so-called property, we'll blow up a grocery store on yours.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
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