Zak Ebrahim: From Terrorism to Peace

PC: Levi Ventura

PC: Levi Ventura


On Sept. 25, Union College had a distinguished guest visit the campus. Zak Ebrahim was invited to speak at Union by the Leadership Minor program. Ebrahim has written a book talking about his life journey. It’s called, “The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice.” He gained recognition after his 2014 TED talk.

Ebrahim’s father helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing but Ebrahim has chosen a different path. He spoke twice at Union; both presentations were held at College View Church.

He first spoke for Tuesday morning chapel. The church sanctuary was packed with students and faculty from the college and College View Academy, as well as people from the church and the community.

The second presentation was held in the evening in Heartland Hall. That second event was mostly attended by people from the church and a few Union students.

Zak Ebrahim was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was raised by devout Muslim parents. His father, El-Sayyid Nosair, began to listen to a radical Muslim who preached that Jews and Americans were terrible and must be killed.

As a result, Ebrahim’s father shot and killed a Jewish man who was the leader of the Jewish Defense League. Nosair was arrested and placed in prison for what is expected to be a life sentence. However, Nosair was still able to help plan the 1993 World Trade Center attack from prison.

After the bombing, Zak Ebrahim and his family moved over twenty times. They traveled all over the United States, trying to escape from the hate they felt as a result of the actions of Ebrahim’s father. Although Nosair supported Muslim extremism, Ebrahim realized those beliefs of hate did not resonate with him. Instead, he decided to devote his life to promoting peace.

He’s traveled all over the United States and all over the world promoting peace and non-violence. His message was well received at Union.

In his book Ebrahim’s states, “I’m convinced that empathy is more powerful than hate and that our lives should be dedicated to making it go viral.” His message of peace is something we all should support and spread in our quest to make this world a better place.

Jordan Judge is a freshman studying business administration.