Aziz Ansari Slams Donald Trump For Anti-Muslim Rhetoric
Ansari, who grew up in South Carolina, is the son of Muslim immigrants from India. The popular actor and stand-up comic begins his guest column by acknowledging that being a Muslim American “carries a decent amount of baggage,” which includes people assuming he’s “a scary terrorist character from ‘Homeland’ or some monster from the news.”
“Today, with the presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and others like him spewing hate speech, prejudice is reaching new levels,” Ansari writes. “It’s visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and pray. It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense.” The comedian goes on to note how after an attack like the mass shooting in Orlando, where an Islamic extremist shot and killed nearly 50 people, many innocent Muslim Americans get treated like suspected terrorists.
“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 argues. The actor goes on to recall being called a “terrorist” by a random driver while walking in New York City shortly after the 9/11 attacks, adding, “The vitriolic and hate-filled rhetoric coming from Mr. Trump isn’t so far off from cursing at strangers from a car window.”
Ansari also condemns Trump’s assertion that Muslims cheered in the streets of New Jersey on September 11. “This has been continually disproved, but he stands by it,” says Ansari, who reveals that he was living at NYU near the World Trade Center when the attacks occurred. “When the second plane hit, I was on the phone with my mother, who called to tell me to leave my dorm building,” Ansari shares. “My family, unable to reach me on my cellphone, was terrified about my safety as they watched the towers collapse. There was absolutely no cheering. Only sadness, horror and fear.”
Ansari then points out how following the Orlando shooting, Trump tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” He concludes, “It appears that day he was the one who was celebrating after an attack.” Trump has not responded to the column, which will be published in Sunday’s newspaper.