Hundreds of Keweenaw residents offered a standing ovation at the nearly full Rozsa Center as they attended a speech Tuesday night made by a Pittsburgh native who is the son of a convicted Islamic extremist.
‘The idea that some murder is justified is very confusing to a young kid. You trust what your parents tell you is right,” said author Zak Ebrahim, the featured speaker who shared some of his life experiences and explained how he has chosen a life as a peace activist, despite his father’s efforts to train him as a terrorist.
Ebrahim said, ‘The first time I made a Jewish friend was the first time that perhaps what I had been taught was a lie. I thought we were supposed to be natural enemies and actually over the course of a very short amount of time we became pretty close.”
During his speech, he described a trip to the shooting range where his father taught him to fire a rifle as a boy, and the proud moment they shared when his bullet hit the canvas target.
Shortly after that day, his father, El-Sayyid Nosair, was arrested for the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was the leader of the Jewish Defense League.
Ebrahim said, “He’s been in maximum security prison since I was seven and from his prison cell, helped to orchestrate a plot to bomb a dozen landmarks around New York City.”
Those attacks were prevented by an informant who tipped off authorities. Currently Nosair is serving six consecutive life sentences for his efforts and the direct involvement with those who carried out the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
Meanwhile, Ebrahim has chosen a different path and travels the world delivering his message of peace and advocating for those who have been victimized by terror.
“This is the best thing that I ever could’ve done with my life, is the thing that has given me the most fulfillment and the greatest sense of purpose. My hope is always that I can show people that it’s possible to break the cycle. Just because we’re raised a certain way doesn’t mean we have to be that way forever,” said Ebrahim.
His book is entitled “The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice” and is available at all major media outlets.