Zak Ebrahim’s father, El-Sayyid Nosair, was among those who plotted the “Day of Terror,” a terrorist plan to bomb a dozen landmarks around New York City. Although an FBI informant foiled those plans, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was carried out. Mr. Ebrahim’s father, already jailed for the 1990 murder of the founder of the Jewish Defense League, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the plot.
Just 10 years old at the time of the World Trade Center bombing, Mr. Ebrahim spent the rest of his childhood moving from place to place as his family tried to hide their relationship to his terrorist father. He has since dedicated his life to peace and nonviolence, and he shared this message and discuss his book, The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice, at the Society of Skeptics on October 1.
In The Terrorist’s Son, Mr. Ebrahim tells the story of his journey to escape his father’s legacy of hate and his realization that peace and empathy are the far better choice. In it, he writes, “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. By telling my story, my intention is to do something hopeful and instructive: to offer a portrait of a young man who was raised in the fires of fanaticism and embraced nonviolence instead. I can’t make any grand claims for myself, but all our lives have themes, and the theme of mine so far is this: Everyone has a choice. Even if you’re trained to hate, you can choose tolerance. You can choose empathy."
The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice won an American Library Award in 2015.
The History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon.’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.