When Zak Ebrahim was 7 years old, his father El Sayyid Nosair assassinated Meir Kahane, the militant ultra-orthodox anti-Arab rabbi who founded the Jewish Defense League.
Then, from prison, three years later, Nosair helped plot the 1993 World Trade Center bombing — and was later convicted as one of the conspirators.
Nosair’s terrorist acts sent the family into a downward spiral—and for much of his life, Ebrahim lied to people about his identity. In fact, he changed his name to distance himself from his father.
His new memoir, The Terrorist’s Son, is about how he came to accept the truth about his father and seek out peace in his own life.
In today’s interview, Ebrahim talks about his father’s involvement with the 1993 WTC bombing and how that changed things:
"I believe that from his prison cell he would often get visitors and have phone calls with many of the men who would eventually be involved in the World Trade Center bombing and involved in planning the attack.
When my father first went to prison [for the assassination of Meir Kahane], although he had maintained his innocence, there were certain people who thought he had done what he had done, namely because Kahane was seen as a very evil figure in particular in the Muslim community. …
I suppose I thought to myself that even if he was guilty that that was some sort of justification. It wasn’t until after the World Trade Center that it was very apparent that innocent people were being attacked — that even as a child I knew that was wrong and that I couldn’t accept any excuse for that. It was also when I realized that our family would no longer ever be together again.”
Watch Ebrahim’s TED Talk, "I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace."
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This brings playing with your food to a new level.
George Takei became famous for his role in Star Trek as Mr. Sulu, but in the last decade, he’s drawn followers who admire him because of who he is—not just who he has played. The new documentary about his life is called To Be Takei.
He joins Fresh Air to talk about growing up in a Japanese internment camp, avoiding stereotypical roles, and coming out as gay at 68.
Here he explains why he was closeted for most of his life:
The thing that affected me in the early part of my career was … there was a very popular box office movie star — blonde, good-looking, good actor — named Tab Hunter. He was in almost every other movie that came out. He was stunningly good-looking and all-American in looks. And then one of the scandals sheets of that time — sort of like The Inquirertoday — exposed him as gay. And suddenly and abruptly, his career came to a stop.
That was, to me, chilling and stunning. I was a young no-name actor, aspiring to build this career — and I knew that [if] it were known that I was gay, then there would be no point to my pursuing that career. I desperately and passionately wanted a career as an actor, so I chose to be in the closet. I lived a double life. And that means you always have your guard up. And it’s a very, very difficult and challenging way to live a life.
Photo by Kevin Scanlon via LA Weekly
Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1949
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