Comedian Aziz Ansari has penned a response in the New York Times to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's response to a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida this month which left at least 49 people dead.
Trump's rhetoric following the attacks — congratulating himself for his nativist positions on immigration and saying migrants from Muslim countries hide radicals like shooter Omar Mateen in their midst — came under attack by Ansari, who was born in South Carolina to a Muslim family originally from Tamil Nadu in India.
"Trump makes me scared for my family," he wrote in the headline, clarifying the point of the editorial was "telling him to go fuck himself" on Twitter.
Ansari pointed out some simple arithmetic: even with generous assumptions, very few Muslims in the U.S. are even suspected of ties to terrorist activity.
"There are approximately 3.3 million Muslim Americans," Ansari wrote. "After the attack in Orlando, the Times reported that the FBI is investigating 1,000 potential 'homegrown violent extremists,' a majority of whom are 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."
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 the awful attacks," Ansari continued. "Not only is this wrongheaded; but it also does nothing to address the real problems posed by terrorist attacks."
Ansari proceeded to write while Trump has suggested Muslims in the U.S. cheered news of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, he knew what he was doing that day — simply trying to stay alive as he fled NYU dorms near ground zero.
"The haunting sound of the second plane hitting the towers is forever ingrained in my head," Ansari wrote. "My building was close enough that it shook upon impact ... Mr. Trump, in response to the attack in Orlando, began a tweet with these words: 'appreciate the congrats.' It appears that day he was the one who was celebrating after an attack."
Survey results suggest the number of Americans with anti-Islam attitudes is large and growing. One poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, released in November 2015, found "perceptions of Islam have turned more negative over the past few years. Today, a majority (56%) of Americans agree that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life, while roughly four in ten (41%) disagree. In 2011, Americans were divided in their views of Islam (47% agreed, 48% disagreed)."