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Friday, April 24, 2015

The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice

This book was a last minute pick up at the library the other day, and how glad I am that I picked it up! This is Zak Ebrahim's The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice.

Zak was seven when his father was arrested for the murder of a famous and beloved rabbi in New York City. His father had grown increasingly radicalized throughout his childhood, and it culminated in his organizing the first World Trade Center attack from his prison cell in 1993. Growing up with an abusive step-father and pushed to be as radicalized as his father, Zak decided as a young man to move away from hate. It was too exhausting. 

I had only recently read about this book, so I picked it up on a whim. I finished it fairly quickly and was really blown away by the story and who Zak has become. It's not just his willingness to discard his father's identity but his willfulness in preaching the exact opposite that is so fascinating and heartwarming. His desire to remove himself from his father's line of vision and instead find ways to advocate for peace is really astounding. He is so eloquent about his feelings and his past, and it's a very good read.

I was genuinely surprised to hear his story, and the details behind the attempted murder of the rabbi and the first World Trade Center attack. Obviously the attack was something I was aware of, even as a child, but the actual firsthand story of someone behind them was a bit mind blowing. I think his ability to come forward and tell his story, even after dealing with extreme bullying as a child, is a strong characteristic and lends itself to the weightiness of the story. He lays everything on the table so that those of us who were unaware of his history could learn from it.

This is a book I would quite like to see integrated into the classroom curricula. It is in easy enough read that even middle school or's can grasp it, yet it's complicated enough to spark strong discussions.

For purchase below. 

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