Spoiler alert: life isn’t fun when you’re raised by a terrorist. This memoir goes into incredible detail on why having a terrorist for a dad is the worst thing that can happen to you.
Before the Boston bombings, September 11 or the shooting at Fort Hood, a young American citizen originally from Egypt shot to death a prominent rabbi and later plotted the 1993 World Trade Center bombing from behind bars.
That man was El Sayyid A. Nosair, whose son, Zak Ebrahim, 31, has spent a lifetime agonizing over why his father chose terrorism over him.
The forerunner of today’s jihadis, Nosair was the first Islamic extremist to kill for his cause in the United States.
His actions would have repercussions in the life of his then-seven-year-old son that are still felt 23 years later, as Ebrahim explains in a new memoir, The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice.
Ebrahim was born to Karen Mills, an American who converted to Islam after becoming disenchanted with the Catholic Church, and Nosair, who emigrated to the U.S. from Egypt in 1981.
They married within 10 days of meeting and Ebrahim recalls a ‘relatively normal’ early childhood, with soccer, Disney movies and family togetherness.
However, Nosair was becoming increasingly devout, and as Ebrahim grew older, his fundamentalist rhetoric grew ever-fervent.
The tipping point was when Nosair uprooted his young family from Pittsburgh to Jersey City following an accusation of rape by a woman from the family’s mosque.
There, Nosair joined a new mosque – one the FBI later referred to as ‘the Jersey Jihad Office,’ reports the New York Post.
As Nosair found his place in his new mosque, his life outside of it was falling apart.
He lost a job as a lighting technician following an injury and sank into a bitter and hate-filled disillusionment, exacerbated by a new friendship with Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, a Sunni extremist whose credo was ‘Jihad and the rifle alone: No negotiations, no conferences and no dialogues,’ and who counted a young Osama bin Laden among his disciples.
Azzam was killed by a car bomb in 1989, by which time Ebrahim’s father had changed permanently into the extremist he remains today.
‘Bigotry just slipped into my system along with everything else: Pi equals 3.14. All Jews are evil, and homosexuality is an abomination. Paris is the capital of France. They all sounded like facts,’ Ebrahim writes in his book.