MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) — A terrorist’s son spoke out against hate at the Mount Pleasant Center for Jewish Life.
Zak Ebrahim’s father was one of the Islamic fundamentalists responsible for bombing the parking garage under the World Trade Center in 1993.
In attack killed 6 and injured 1000 people.
Zak Ebrahim’s father, El-Sayyid Nosair, helped plan the attack when Zak was just 10 years old.
“He taught me that anyone who didn’t fit into a very narrow idea of what it is to be good was an enemy,” says Ebrahim.
Rabbi Yossi Refson invited him to speak in Charleston.
“We invited Zak because Zak has a fascinating story about how he grew up, what his father has done. And how he was able to transcend that,” Yossi explains.
Ebrahim says growing up labeled as a terrorist’s son in America was tough for him and his mom
“We received many death threats and had been ostracized by many communities. We moved around 30 plus times.”
He says being bullied – and coming to understand his role as a bully - led him to fully reject his father’s hateful views.
“The first time I made a gay friend and he showed me kindness in the face of my own bigotry it made it clear to me I was the bad guy in that scenario.”
Ebrahim says sharing his story isn’t easy, “every once in a while I get an email that says your father’s a terrorist you have terrorist blood you’re a terrorist.”
He’s understanding of people’s feelings but he refuses to stop spreading love instead of hate.
“I would liken it to taking sunglasses off. The world was a brighter place for me.”
Rabbi Refson agrees, “hatred in the heart leads to terrible actions and deeds. Someone like Zak grew up in a terrible environment but he was able to transform that.”
Today 9000 Jews call the Lowcountry home.
El-Sayyid Nosair is serving a life sentence for his role in the attack.
Zak Ebrahim is the author of the 2014 book “A Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice.”