Aziz Ansari is speaking out about the "vitriolic" rhetoric of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. The Master of None creator and star penned an impassioned op-ed for the New York Times, published Friday, in which Ansari draws on personal experience and recent events to blast Trump for inspiring a new wave of prejudice.
"I am the son of Muslim immigrants," Ansari wrote, revealing he texted his parents after hearing news of the recent mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando. "As I sent that text, in the aftermath of the horrible attack in Orlando, Fla., I realized how awful it was to tell an American citizen to be careful about how she worshiped," Ansari said.
With the rise of Trump and others, Ansari says, prejudice is hitting "new levels" in the United States and beyond. "It's visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and pray," Ansari said. "It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense." To prove the lack of logic inherent in Trump's oft-repeated claims regarding Muslim citizens, Ansari unpacked some stats:
There are approximately 3.3 million Muslim Americans. After the attack in Orlando, The Times reported that the F.B.I. is investigating 1,000 potential “homegrown violent extremists,” a majority of whom are most likely connected in some way to the Islamic State. If everyone on that list is Muslim American, that is 0.03 percent of the Muslim American population. If you round that number, it is 0 percent. The overwhelming number of Muslim Americans have as much in common with that monster in Orlando as any white person has with any of the white terrorists who shoot up movie theaters or schools or abortion clinics.
Ansari also mentioned Trump's claim that Muslims in New Jersey and elsewhere cheered in the streets following the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, adding that the sound of the second plane hitting the towers would be "forever ingrained" in his head. "I was scared for my life as my fellow students and I trekked the panicked streets of Manhattan," Ansari said. "My family, unable to reach me on my cell phone, was terrified about my safety as they watched the towers collapse. There was absolutely no cheering. Only sadness, horror and fear."
Read the full essay here.