Author(s): Zak Ebrahim
What is it like to grow up with a terrorist in your home? Zak Ebrahim was only seven years old when, on November 5th, 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." In The Terrorist's Son, 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-and so is tolerance. Though Ebrahim was subjected to a violent, intolerant ideology throughout his childhood, he did not become radicalised. Terrorist groups tap into certain vulnerabilities that are usually circumstantial: poverty, oppression, disenfranchisement, lack of resources and options. Ebrahim shows how those same vulnerabilities can create great strengths, leading people to form great reserves of empathy and tolerance. He believes that, because we all have a deep capacity for empathy, humans have the choice-and can find the will-to reject negative ideology.
Zak Ebrahim was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on March 24, 1983, the son of an Egyptian industrial engineer and an American school teacher. 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-Sayed Nosair, co-masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Ebrahim spent the rest of his childhood moving from city to city, hiding his identity from those who knew him. He now dedicates his life to speaking out against terrorism and spreading his message of peace and nonviolence.