Book Review of Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef
A New York Times and Amazon Bestseller
During the Ergun Caner debacle and the NYC Mosque brouhaha, a story was brewing that was overlooked by the much of the media. I happened to be listening to Fox News one day and heard an interview with Mosab Hassan Yousef, a young man who grew up in Ramallah, in the West Bank, as the son of one of the founders of Hamas, Sheikh Hassan Yousef. Here is a link to the entire interview.
During the interview, it was mentioned that this former terrorist became a spy for Shin Bet, the Israeli version of the CIA, and converted to Christianity. I immediately downloaded his book, Son of Hamas, onto my Kindle and finally got around to reading it about a month ago. I couldn’t put the book down. Yousef weaves his love for his father and his family throughout his critical look at his former faith and politics, bringing a unique perspective to the complex issues of that region. 11/27/10 update: We received some great information from Ron Brackin, the ghost writer for Son of Hamas. He said, "the U.S. counterpart to the Shin Bet is the FBI rather than the CIA. The CIA counterpart is Mossad. We thank Ron for his input. See his comment below for links to his blog."
This book is a must read for anyone who is curious about an insider’s take on the Palestinian issue, Hamas, and other Arab terrorist organizations. I was surprised by certain revelations, realizing how little I truly understand about these groups. For example, he outlines the belief systems of various terrorist organizations. Hamas has a strong basis in Muslim faith. However, the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) is essentially atheistic with strong allegiance to communist philosophy. However, they all play to Islamic sensibilities for support of their causes.
Frankly, his perspective on Islam is unique. He carefully outlines his growing dissatisfaction with Islam, calling it a schizophrenic faith. He extols the love that his father exhibited to his family and the people that followed him. The family lived a meager lifestyle and gave much of what they had to their neighbors, earning much respect within the community. However, Yousef, who now goes by the name Joseph, could not find a way to reconcile his father’s expressions of love with his apparent condoning of terrorist violence against innocent people.
Joseph's stay in an Israeli prison fueled his growing frustration with violence as a solution to the region's problems. He was first arrested as a 10-year-old child for throwing rocks at Israeli troops. He later became a leader of a terrorist group at his high school and was eventually arrested by the Israelis for running weapons. Within the Israeli prison, various terrorist groups were segregated by political affiliation and were allowed to run a mini-society, complete with leaders, etc. Joseph, assigned to the Hamas section, became disgusted with the violence that Hamas leaders perpetrated on their fellow Hamas followers.
Wishing to ease the violence in the West Bank, Joseph became an informant for Shin Bet. Interestingly, he would tell his handlers where the terrorists were hiding and their plans for violence. But he would extract a promise from the Israelis that they would not kill those he exposed. “By1997, Yousef was considered the Shin Bet's most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname the "Green Prince" – using the color of the Islamist group's flag, and "prince" because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement's founders. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of Hamas cells as well as the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures. He has claimed that he did not inform for money but rather that his motivations were ideological and religious, and that he only wanted to save lives. “(Quote from Wikipedia but corroborated by my reading of his book).
In 1999, he met a British missionary to Israel and was given a Bible. He was drawn by the love and peace that he saw exhibited in certain passages of the Bible, especially the Sermon on the Mount. He began to practice and espouse these values prior to his conversion. In other words, he acted like a Christian before he converted in 2000. In a particularly moving passage, he was secretly baptized in 2005. In 2007, fearing that his identity as a spy was in danger of being revealed, he left the West Bank and moved to the United States where he sought asylum.
In August 2008, Joseph went public with his story, revealing for the first time his conversion to Christianity. He also renounced Hamas and the Arab leadership, thereby endangering himself and exposing his family in Ramallah to persecution. His family renounced him, his father disowned him and all claimed that he was a liar, refusing to have any further contact with him
Joseph has also claimed that his aim was to bring peace to the Middle East by exposing terrorists before they had a chance to commit acts of violence. He still desires to return to the West Bank when there is peace. However, due to his conversion and history of being an Israeli spy, this wish has little hope of reality.
As an interesting sidebar, the Obama administration was not inclined to offer him asylum and actually sought to have him deported. Does anyone else read a bit of politicking going on here? The reason had nothing to do with him being the son of a terrorist. It had everything to do with his work for the Israelis. WND reported the following: (Yousef) “had been denied his February 2009 request for asylum because the department interpreted his work as a counterterror agent with Israel's Shin Bet security agency as engagement in terrorist activity, making him a threat to U.S. security.”
However, cooler heads prevailed. I was moved to learn that "On June 24th 2010 the Shin Bet handler Gonen Ben-Itzhak, who for 10 years worked with Mosab Hassan Yousef, revealed his own identity in order to testify on behalf of Yousef at an immigration hearing in San Diego. Itzhak described Yousef as a "true friend" and said he "he risked his life every day in order to prevent violence.” (Quote from Wikipedia but confirmed with other sources such as WND). You can read about Ben-Itzhak's many conversations with Joseph in Son of Hamas.
WND reports "Judge Rico Bartolomei ruled Yousef will be granted political asylum Aug. 26 after he is fingerprinted and passes a routine background check. Yousef says he wants to become a U.S. citizen.
In another WND interview we learn:
“As the son of a Hamas co-founder who became a Christian, a spy for Israel and a consultant to the Holy Land Foundation terror-finance trial, Mosab Hassan Yousef offers a rare perspective on the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood – at once the spawn of nearly every major Islamic terrorist group as well as "mainstream" operatives in the U.S. such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
He told WND in a telephone interview Americans must understand that the ultimate goal of the highly influential Brotherhood is not terrorism but to establish a global Islamic state over the entire world.
"If they can establish this in a peaceful manner, that's fine," he said. "But they are required by the Quran to establish this global Islamic state on the rubble of every civilization, every constitution, every government."
The Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas in 2008 – the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history – presented evidence of the Muslim Brotherhood's "100-year plan" to gradually destroy the U.S. and Western civilization from within "so that it is eliminated and Allah's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
"This is not a doctrine of some freak Muslim," Yousef observed. "It's the doctrine, the requirement, of the god of Islam himself and his prophet, whom they praise every day."
One of the Brotherhood's prime strategies to help achieve its ultimate aim is to spin off groups such as the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, that attempt to give Islam a positive face, he pointed out.”
We leave you with a couple of You Tube videos to hear Jospeh in his own words. Unlike Ergun Caner, this guy is the real “al McCoy”. This is a story of a young man who grapples with the love for his father and family, the violence and hopelessness of terrorism, and the schizophrenia of Islam while finding ultimate redemption in the Gospel. Read this book!
Video One: Hamas Atrocities Led Me to Convert
Video Two: The God of Islam Suffers from Split Personality (being questioned by a Muslim anchor-somewhat heated)