"Prejudice is reaching new levels," Ansari wrote in the New York Times this week

By Andrea Park
Updated June 25, 2016 01:35 PM
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Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

In an op-ed for the New York Times this week, Aziz Ansari described how the anti-Muslim rhetoric from politicans has had a tangible effect on him and his family.

The Master of None creator and star, 33, recalled texting his mother to tell her not to pray at her mosque in the days following the Orlando shooting.

“As I sent that text,” he wrote, “I realized how awful it was to tell an American citizen to be careful about how she worshiped.”

Taking such precautions, however, is necessary in a world where, according to Ansari, the word “Muslim” makes people think not of “Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or the kid who left the boy band One Direction,” but of “a scary terrorist character from Homeland or some monster from the news.”

“Today, with the presidential candidate Donald Trump and others like him spewing hate speech, prejudice is reaching new levels. It’s visceral and scary and it affects how people live, work and pray,” Ansari wrote. “It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense.”

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The Parks and Recreation actor noted that although the FBI is reportedly investigating 1,000 potential “homegrown violent terrorists,” that number comprises just 0.03 percent of the 3.3 million Muslim Americans – nowhere near representative of the entire population.

“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,” he wrote.

With this in mind, Islamophobic rhetoric is harmful and unhelpful, Ansari wrote.

“[Trump] has said that people in the American Muslim community “know who the bad ones are,” implying that millions of innocent people are somehow complicit in awful attacks,” Ansari said. “Not only is this wrongheaded; but it also does nothing to address the real problems posed by terrorist attacks. By Mr. Trump’s logic, after the huge financial crisis of 2007-08, the best way to protect the American economy would have been to ban white males.”

The actor finished the article by contradicting Trump’s statement that Muslims were “cheering in the streets” on 9/11 and by concluding that one “clear” way to decrease the risk of terrorism is to enact stricter gun laws.

“Suspected terrorists can buy assault rifles, but we’re still carrying tiny bottles of shampoo to the airport,” he wrote. “If we’re going to use the ‘they’ll just find another way’ argument, let’s use that to let us keep our shoes on.”