Aziz Ansari writes: “Don’t go anywhere near a mosque,” I told my mother. “Do all your prayer at home. O.K.?”
“We’re not going,” she replied.
I am the son of Muslim immigrants. As I sent that text, in the aftermath of the horrible attack in Orlando, Fla., I realized how awful it was to tell an American citizen to be careful about how she worshiped.
Being Muslim American already carries a decent amount of baggage. In our culture, when people think “Muslim,” the picture in their heads is not usually of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or the kid who left the boy band One Direction. It’s of 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. 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. [Continue reading…]