Son of Hamas

John ArmstrongBooks, Islam

images The popular Christian biography/memoir, Son of Hamas, is a genuinely moving story of betrayal, courage and true conversion. The young author, Mosab Hassan Yousef (now living in California), has given us an inside account of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But his conclusions will unsettle hopes for a lasting peace. When he decided to leave his role as a undercover agent for the Israeli secret service, Shin Bet, he told his friend:

“We’re fighting a war that can’t be won with arrests, interrogations, and assassinations. Our enemies are ideas, and ideas don’t care about incursions and curfews. We can’t blow up an idea with a Merkava. You are not our problem, and we are not yours. We’re all like rats trapped in a maze. I can’t do it anymore. My time is over” (236).

Mosab Hassan Yousef has been converted to living faith in Jesus Christ as his Messiah and Lord. His story is nothing short of remarkable. I read the book in only a few hours finding it hard to put down. His conversion came about over the course of several years. The son of a founder of Hamas, Mosab had every reason to not become a Christian. At first he was drawn to Jesus as a teacher. In time he came to embrace him as Lord and God. He writes of the change:

One day, my friend Jamal was cooking dinner for me.

“Mosab,” he said, “I have a surprise for you.”

He flipped the channel and said with a gleam in his eye, “Check out this TV program on Al-Hayat. It might interest you.”

I found myself looking into the eyes of an old Coptic priest named Zakaria Borros. He looked kind and gentle and had a warm, compelling voice. I liked him—until I realize what he was saying. He was systematically performing an autopsy on the Qur’an, opening it up and exposing every bone, muscle, sinew and showing the entire book to be cancerous.

Factual and historical inaccuracies, contradictions—he revealed them precisely and respectfully but firmly and with conviction. My first instinct was to lash out and turn the television off. But that lasted only seconds before I recognized that this was God’s answer to my prayers. Father Zakaria was cutting away all the dead pieces of Allah that still linked me to Islam and blinded me to the truth that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. Until that happened, I could not move ahead in following him. But it was not an easy transition. Just try to imagine the pain of waking up one day to discover that you dad is not really your father.

alg_mosab_hassan_yousef I cannot tell you the exact day and the hour that I “became a Christian” because it was a six-year process. But I knew that I was, and I knew I needed to be baptized, no matter what Shin Bet said. About this time, a group of American Christians came to Israel to tour the Holy Land and to visit their sister church, the one I was attending (226-27).

Shortly after this time Mosab was baptized and began to grow stronger in faith, hope and love. He realized that he could no longer participate in violence, even if he was not directly carrying out the violent acts. He knew that Jesus had called him to be a peacemaker and was determined to follow Jesus’ will no matter what the cost.

Today Mosab lives in southern California. He is a member of a good evangelical church. I have had brief contact with his pastor and believe that Mosab is being cared for spiritually in a good context. I have also been told a fairly well-known Christian leader, a man I know and who I deeply respect, is also investing time in his life. Pray for him. Not only is his life threatened day-to-day but he is being sought by large Christian groups in North America as a speaker. He is only a young Christian and has much to learn before his role becomes larger. This book is an excellent first-hand account of his conversion and escape from Hamas. It will thrill you. An excellent book site is provided by the publisher, Tyndale House. There are a number of links and news items about Mosab if you search his name. One of the very best interviews was done by my friend Mark Elfstrand at Moody Radio. Scroll down the list of programs when the site opens and you will be able to hear Mark, Mosab and Mosab’s pastor.