After the Orlando mass shooting nearly two weeks ago, actor and comedian Aziz Ansari warned his mother not to go near mosques, to "do all your prayer at home," he wrote in a New York Times op-ed.
Ansari, the son of Muslim immigrants, fears for the safety of his family and his Muslim friends, and it is listening to presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump that's exacerbating his fears.
"Today, with the presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and others like him spewing hate speech, prejudice is reaching new levels," Ansari wrote. "It's visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and pray."
It's not "Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or the kid who left the boy band One Direction" who comes to mind when Americans think of Muslims, Ansari laments. "It's of a scary terrorist character from 'Homeland' or some monster from the news."
He talked about the feeling Muslims -- or anyone who looks Muslim -- have after a horrible attack like the one in San Bernardino or Orlando.
"There is a strange feeling that you must almost prove yourself worthy of feeling sad and scared like everyone else," he wrote.
Ansari takes issue with Trump's claim 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. Not only is this wrongheaded; but it also does nothing to address the real problems posed by terrorist attacks," Ansari's op-ed reads. "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 accusation Trump makes about the Muslims in New Jersey cheering in the streets after the 9/11 attacks seems to hit Ansari especially hard. At the time, he was a student at N.Y.U., living close by the World Trade Center, and the memory of the attacks is vivid.
"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..."
"My family, unable to reach me on my cellphone, was terrified about my safety as they watched the towers collapse," he continued. "There was absolutely no cheering. Only sadness, horror and fear.
"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."