Pre –thinking:

Ebrahim’s father was a radical Islamic terrorist, who is now in prison for a bombing in New York, raised him to follow in his footsteps. Ebrahim renounced his father, and made a conscious choice to remain Islamic, but eschew violence. Listen to his story to understand why and how he did this

Why you should listen:

The son of El Sayyid Nosair, Zak Ebrahim was just seven years old when his father helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He and his mother, kept their family history a secret as they moved through a long succession of towns. In 2010, he realized his experience as a terrorist’s son not only gave him a unique perspective, but also a unique chance to show that if he could escape a violent heritage, anyone could. As he told, “We must embrace tolerance and nonviolence. Who knows this better than the son of a terrorist?”

Who is he?

When Zak Ebrahim was seven, his family went on the run. His father, El Sayyid Nosair, had hoped Zak would follow in his footsteps — and become a jihadist. Instead, Zak was at the beginning of a long journey to comprehend his past. In 2014 Ebrahim published the TED Book The Terrorist’s Son, a memoir written with Jeff Giles about the path he took to turn away from hate.


  1. How old was Ebrahim when his father began his training as a terrorist?
  2. How does he describe his childhood?
  3. Ebrahim says that he looked up to his father’s friends. and fellow terrorists, and called them “uncle”. What does this indicate about his state of mind at this time?
  4. He says that he was the loner, outsider, unaccepted kid, who stayed inside and played video games by himself. That he judged others by race or religion, as he had been taught. This sounds like the classic description of a deranged school shooter or other domestic terrorist. How did he begin to overcome his family background?
  5. Ebrahim mentions two other significant experiences after the Philadelphia Conference, that contributed to a change in the way he saw himself and the world. What were these experiences
  6. Can you think of some time in your life, when a person ,event, or experience changed the way

I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I Chose Peace with Zak Ebrahim


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