The old adage “like father, like son” does not apply to Zak Ebrahim. Ebrahim’s father is El Sayyid Nosair, the Egyptian-born American who shot and killed Jewish Defense League founder Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990 and was later convicted of being a co-mastermind behind the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center while he was in prison.
Ebrahim and his families’ lives were completely transformed by his father’s involvement in the assassination.
Zak Ebrahim: Not his father’s sonZak Ebrahim joins host Mike Walter to recount his painful experiences as the son of a terrorist, the factors that may have led his father to deviate away from his life as a loving Muslim, and the importance of countering fundamentalism and prejudice with love and acceptance.
“From that day on, our life was turned into pretty much constant chaos. Our family had received death threats because of my father’s actions,” Ebrahim said. “[My father] was also the breadwinner, so in one evening, my mother was left a single mom with three children to raise on her own. So his actions pretty much turned our lives upside down.”
Traces of his father’s terrorism haunted Ebrahim’s life and forced him to hide is identity for almost two decades.
But recently, Ebrahim decided to share his story and embolden people to promote peace and tolerance in their daily lives. He has taken a courageous stand against the fanatic views of hatred and intolerance that his father aimed to disseminate.
In his new book, “The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice,” Ebrahim chronicles his journey to relinquish his father’s hatred and replace it with his own hope.
He hopes his book will help people grasp the severe consequences that come from intolerance and perpetuated stereotypes.
“It’s so important that we are aware that stereotyping people or marginalizing certain groups based on religion or race can be so harmful,” Ebrahim said. “That’s why I think in the wake of violence from groups like these, we have to press on even harder in creating a more open society and allowing those who may feel marginalized a place in society where they can feel that they are accepted for who they are.”
Ebrahim joined Mike Walter to recount his painful experiences as the son of a terrorist, the factors that may have led his father to deviate away from his life as a loving Muslim, and the importance of countering fundamentalism and prejudice with love and acceptance.
Follow Ebrahim on Twitter: @ZakEbrahim