Ebrahim’s book explores his own choice of love over bigotry and intolerance, against many daunting odds.
When Ebrahim was seven his father shot and killed the founder of the Jewish Defense League, Rabbi Meir Kahane. From behind bars, his father El-Sayyid Nosair co-masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He now dedicates his life to speaking out against terrorism and spreading his message of peace and nonviolence.
Ebrahim traces his remarkable journey to escape his father’s legacy. Crisscrossing the eastern United States from Pittsburgh to Memphis, from a mosque in Jersey City to the Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa, The Terrorist’s Son is the story of a boy taught dogma and hate – and the man who chose a different path.
Zak says of his father’s incarceration, “The fact that my father went to prison for an unfathomable crime when I was seven just about ruined my life. But it also made my life possible.”
An extraordinary story, never before told: The intimate, behind-the-scenes life of an American boy raised by his terrorist father—the man who planned the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
What is it like to grow up with a terrorist in your home? Zak Ebrahim was only seven years old when, on November 5, 1990, his father El-Sayed Nosair shot and killed the leader of the Jewish Defense League. While in prison, Nosair helped plan the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. In one of his infamous video messages, Osama bin Laden urged the world to “Remember El-Sayed Nosair.”
For Zak Ebrahim, a childhood amongst terrorism was all he knew. After his father’s incarceration, his family moved often, and as the perpetual new kid in class, he faced constant teasing and exclusion. Yet, though his radicalized father and uncles modeled fanatical beliefs, to Ebrahim something never felt right. To the shy, awkward boy, something about the hateful feelings just felt unnatural.
In this book, Ebrahim dispels the myth that terrorism is a foregone conclusion for people trained to hate. Based on his own remarkable journey, he shows that hate is always a choice—but so is tolerance. Though Ebrahim was subjected to a violent, intolerant ideology throughout his childhood, he did not become radicalized. Ebrahim argues that people conditioned to be terrorists are actually well positioned to combat terrorism, because of their ability to bring seemingly incompatible ideologies together in conversation and advocate in the fight for peace. Ebrahim argues that everyone, regardless of their upbringing or circumstances, can learn to tap into their inherent empathy and embrace tolerance over hatred. His unique, urgent message is fresh, groundbreaking, and essential to the current discussion about terrorism.
Author Visit Information: Zak Ebrahim will be on the NIACC campus on Wednesday, October 24
Common Read Scholarship 2018
The opportunity to be selected for the Common Read $500 Scholarship is made available to all degree seeking, full-time or part-time NIACC students. One (1) $500 scholarship will be awarded with payment transfered to student’s NIACC account Spring 2019 (student must be enrolled either full or part-time Spring 2019). Application deadline is 11:59 pm on October 2nd.
NIACC does not discriminate in employment or education. See http://www.niacc.edu/about/non-discrimination-statement/ for additional information.
The Terrorist’s Son – Scholarship Essay Prompt
Throughout his childhood Zak’s father demonstrated bigotry or intolerance toward those who held different opinions. He acted in hatred toward people who were not like him. His father expected Zak to follow his example, but instead he developed a way of not becoming bigoted or violent.
Describe what Zak experienced or observed that helped him reject hatred, bigotry, and violence. What made that choice difficult for Zak?
What behaviors or beliefs from your childhood have you decided to reject or accept as your own, and how did you (do you) deal with the difficulties of your choices?
How were your experiences like and/or different from Zak’s?