Zak Ebrahim was seven years old when his father, El-Sayyid Nosair, shot and killed the leader of the Jewish Defense League. While in prison, Nosair helped plan the bombing of the World Trade Center.
“The fact that my father went to prison for an unfathomable crime when I was seven just about ruined my life. But it also my made my life possible. He could not fill me with hate from jail. I’ve spent my life trying to understand what drew my father to terrorism and struggled with the knowledge that I have his blood in my veins.
After his father’s incarceration, Ebrahim and his family moved more than twenty times, haunted by and persecuted for the crimes of his father. Though his radicalized father and uncles modeled fanatical beliefs, the hateful ideas never resonated with the shy, awkward boy. The older he grew, the more fully Ebrahim grasped the horrific depths of his father’s acts. The more he understood, the more he resolved to dedicate his life to promoting peace.
In his unforgettable book, “The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice,”Ebrahim traces his remarkable journey to escape his father’s terrible legacy and discovers some very powerful truths about himself and his father:
My father could not stop me from coming in contact with the sorts of people he demonized and discovering that they were human beings— people I could care about and who could care about me. Bigotry cannot survive the experience. My body rejected it.”