Aziz Ansari isn’t holding back. The usually happy-go-lucky Master of None creator unleashed his fury over Donald Trump’s “xenophobic rhetoric” in a poignant op-ed for The New York Times on Friday, June 24.
The 33-year-old actor started out by noting that since the shooting deaths of 49 people in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month, he has been trying to convince his parents, Muslim immigrants, to stay away from mosques.
But, he wrote, he “realized how awful it was to tell an American citizen to be careful about how she worshipped.”
“Today, with presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and others like him spewing hate speech, prejudice is reaching new levels,” Ansari continued. “It’s visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and play. It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense.”
Ansari pointed out that the the term “Muslim” is more likely to conjure up images of faceless terrorists than “Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or the kid who left the boy band One Direction.”
But, he argued, he and other Muslim Americans have more in common with those who were shot in the Orlando killings at Pulse, a gay nightclub, than the one Muslim American man who was responsible for those 49 deaths.
“I myself am not a religious person, but after these attacks, anyone that even looks like they might be Muslim understands the feelings my friend described,” he wrote, referring to his pal’s frustration at having assumptions thrown at her based on the color of her skin. “There is a strange feeling that you must almost prove yourself worthy of feeling sad and scared like everyone else.”
The former Parks and Recreation actor went on to slam Trump for his hate-filled speech, and for unapologetically insisting that Muslims in New Jersey “were cheering in the streets on Sept. 11, 2001,” a claim that has no basis in fact.
“Mr. Trump, in response to the attack in Orlando, began a tweet with these words: ‘Appreciate the congrats,’” Ansari concluded. “It appears that day he was the one who was celebrating after an attack.”