It’s almost too amazing to be true: A stranger hands a New Testament to a longtime Hamas insider and heir-apparent to the terror organization’s power structure, he opens it up, reads it – and is changed forever:
“I thought, ‘Wow, this guy Jesus is really impressive! Everything He says is beautiful! … Every verse seemed to touch a deep wound in my life. It was a very simple message, but somehow it had the power to heal my soul and give me hope.”
Those are the words of Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose explosive new book just debuted and shot up immediately to the top of the best-seller charts.
Yousef had an inside view of Hamas as the oldest son of Sheik Hassan Yousef, a founding member of the deadly terrorist group and its most popular leader.
In fact, the younger Yousef was being groomed to assume his father’s legacy, politics, status and power.
But after his encounter with the New Testament, something changed. He turned away from terror and violence and instead embraced the teachings of another famous Middle East leader.
Now his story is being told in “Son of Hamas” – subtitled “A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices.”
In an interview with Joel Rosenberg, the New York Times best-selling author of “The Last Jihad,” “The Last Days,” “The Ezekiel Option,” and others, Yousef, now known as Joseph, said he was walking in Jerusalem one day after he was introduced to the concept of giving to those who ask.
“There was a homeless Jew in the Jewish side of Jerusalem, and I answered the call of the Lord to share with him some of the change in my pocket. Then I sat down and cried because I had the chance to understand the unconditional love God has. … It was shocking to me that I never felt sorry for a homeless Jew.”
In the interview with Rosenberg, the founder and president of the Joshua Fund, which provides humanitarian relief for victims of war and terrorism in the Middle East, Yousef said Christians can reach the Palestinian people and Muslims, and, in fact, they must.
“Loving Muslims and Palestinians is our responsibility. And our duty as Christians to show God’s love toward Muslims is more important than governments, the United Nations and the international community. All of those don’t have a clue how to deal with the Islamic problem. We know as Christians that the conflict is spiritual and ideological. You can’t kill an idea. You have to replace it. Governments can send troops to change a regime or kill terrorists, but they don’t have the type of weapons that we have — love and hope and grace,” he said.
His book includes details about his faith, his agonizing separation from his family and homeland, and his goals.
Finished with the help of journalist Ron Brackin, who has traveled extensively in the Middle East, including visits to Jerusalem during the al-Aqsa Intifada, the book also reveals a little about the inside of Hamas.
“I had never heard a human being scream like that guy did,” he writes of his short time in prison for buying automatic weapons, where he saw Muslims torturing Muslims.
“What could he have done to deserve that?” he wondered later. “Nearby, fellow Hamas members – fellow Arabs, fellow Palestinians, fellow Muslims – shoved needles under [a man’s] fingernails.
“Every day there was screaming; every night, torture. Hamas was torturing its own people! As much as I wanted to, I simply could not find a way to justify that,” he wrote.
Following his conversion, Yousef worked as a spy for Israel’s Shin Bet secret service agency.
He said he realizes his open declaration of faith may mean his former associates have death in mind for him.