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Comedian Aasif Mandvi: America’s Fear of Muslims Distracts from ‘Real Issues’ Like Gun Violence

Muslim-American comedian Aasif Mandvi went off on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in an interview, comparing the candidate’s “angry white” supporters to Hitler supporters in 1937 Germany and contending that terrorist groups like ISIS would be emboldened under a Trump presidency.

In a lengthy interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the 50-year-old former Daily Show correspondent and Halal in the Family star said that the values that make America great, “the diversity, the multiplicity of what this country is,” would “disappear” should Trump win the White House in November.

“What he’s managed to do is galvanize this voice of fear that is mostly based in white men,” Mandvi told THR. “A majority of his voters are angry white men, and often not college educated. There’s this idea that somehow the America that white people have benefitted from is slipping away, and a fear that immigrants are taking over. First a black president, then a female president. This is outrageous!”

The comedian contended that Trump’s comments about Muslim-Americans like Khizr and Ghazala Khan play into “the worst fears and the stereotypes” that Americans hold of Muslims, and that terrorist groups including ISIS could capitalize on those sentiments.

“That’s what’s so frightening. ISIS is just waiting for Trump to be president. They’re so excited. He’s stirring those feelings in people here that is the same thing that fundamentalists are stirring in people on the other side of the world,” Mandvi told the outlet. “ISIS is like ‘Please waterboard more people, it makes our job so much easier.’ He gives ISIS and the terrorists every justification to say, ‘See, everything we’ve been saying is true, that America is about arrogance, violence and ignorance. Now they’re showing their true colors!'”

“This is like Christmas for ISIS. And they don’t even celebrate Christmas!” he joked.

Mandvi has previously spoken out against what he says is the stereotypical treatment of Muslims in America. Last year, the comedian and actor launched a new web series called Halal in the Family, a Muslim-American twist on the classic Norman Lear-created sitcom All in the Family that Mandvi hoped would combat “anti-Muslim bigotry” in America.

“If you can get people afraid of Muslims, you don’t have to talk about real issues,” Mandvi told THR. “Seventy percent of Americans are killed by other Americans with guns, not by foreign terrorists. And we’re not keeping white men with guns out of the country. We’re keeping Syrian refugees out of the country.”

The Internship star, who said he’s been “in more bars than mosques” in his life and did not grow up religious, said that American Muslims “do need to speak out.” But he said that people supporting Trump in this year’s election operate from a “purely emotional” place.

“Those people who are now supporting him, like the Germans in 1937, will ultimately realize that the whole thing is a lie,” Mandvi told THR. “We’ve had a great run for 240 years. There’s a part of me that resigns itself to the universe. I will fight Trump with every ounce of whatever I have, but if that’s what wins, then there’s a collective insanity that has taken over.”

Mandvi is far from the only celebrity to have taken on Trump in recent months. In fact, actor Will Smith used the exact same phrase, “collective insanity,” to refer to Trump’s supporters in an interview to promote his latest film earlier this week.

 

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum

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