Correction Added: 7:30 am 4/7, see below.
The Global Center for Journalism and Democracy will bring the son of a terrorist to campus to spread the idea of peace.
Zak Ebrahim, son of terrorist El-Sayed Nosair who attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, has dedicated his life to overcome the assumptions people have of him because of his father and to spread the importance of peace worldwide.
Ebrahim has given several TED Talks where he has shared his story and discussed how the gruesome things he was exposed to as a child pushed him to live a life of peace and to be a person who helps and not harms others.
Brenda Juarez is a student with the GCJD and has been helping with organizing the event. Juarez said part of GCJD’s job is to bring in speakers that will interest the university on important lessons as well as provide opportunities to learn and grow by hearing different perspectives and stories.
“One of the things the Global Center for Journalism and Democracy does is bring speakers from all around each semester to share their expertise on a certain topic or help raise awareness,” Juarez said.
Juarez believes this is the first time a speaker like Ebrahim has appeared on campus and will bring a different perspective on current topics to discuss.
“I don’t think the university has had someone like Ebrahim come speak before,” Juarez said. “His story is unique, and he will touch [on] the topic of terrorism, which is very present and relevant to our lives today whether people realize it or not.”
Juarez said students’ reactions to the news of Ebrahim’s visit have been mixed. Some are unsure of the idea of him coming to speak at the university while others feel like it will be an amazing opportunity.
“We have encountered a few people who are a little conservative towards the event, but we have also encountered a good number of those who are intrigued and surprised we are having someone like Ebrahim come speak,” Juarez said.
Juarez is interested is seeing how the audience reacts after hearing Ebrahim speak and the kind of questions his presentation will stir up in them.
“Are they going to feel inspired in any way by Ebrahim’s courage to choose a different path from his father’s, and [will they then] choose to make a difference themselves?” Juarez asked. “Will they break away from negative stereotypes they may have towards people like Ebrahim? Also, I am looking forward to the questions they will ask during the session.”
Juarez thinks this event will change people’s perspectives regarding these kinds of topics. She hopes people are able to think and speak about what we typically consider delicate subjects more freely.
“I hope the university and students are more open to controversial topics, or topics that we know about but choose not to discuss, like terrorism,” Juarez said. “We all know what terrorism is and that it exists, but we don’t ever talk about, which is why I think we received the responses we did in announcing Ebrahim’s event.”
Ebrahim’s presentation will take place tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater. It will also be lived streamed at SHSU The Woodlands Center.
Ebrahim will share his story, discuss his book and there will also be a Q&A session immediately following his speech. Attendance is free.
Correction: The Houstonian originally labeled Ebrahim as the son of a 9/11 terrorist. This is false. Embrahim’s father, El-Sayyid Nosair, planned the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, not the September 11th attacks. This is an unacceptable lapse in copy editing and judgment, and The Houstonian regrets the error.
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Just to clarify i am not the son of any of the men responsible for 9/11. My father was convicted for his involvement in the 1993 bombing of the WTC.