Mosab Hassan Yousef had been warned by Israeli intelligence officials not to get baptized. As a high-profile figure in the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, publicly renouncing Islam could result in his murder. Furthermore, his critical role as a secret, counter-terrorism agent would be compromised. But, as a new believer in Christ, he insisted upon baptism, and so the ceremony took place on a Tel Aviv beach. Mosab, indeed, took precautions to keep it from Hamas, but his already dangerous life took on new peril as he began his walk with Christ, a walk which has demanded ever more courage as the years have passed.1
Yousef was born in 1978 to sheik Hassan Yousef, one of the seven founders of Hamas. By age 10, he was already throwing stones at Israeli soldiers near his West Bank home and learning to hate the people he knew only as oppressive occupiers. Through his teen years, Yousef’s animosity toward Israel increased until he was arrested in 1996 for buying and hiding weapons to attack the Jewish state.2 But while in prison he agreed to work upon his release as a spy for Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic spy bureau.3
Under the code name Green Prince—green to denote the Hamas flag and prince to reference his father’s position—he became Israel’s most reliable source of inside information on terrorists. For instance, in 2000, a group called the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades began killing Jewish troops and settlers with devastating effectiveness. When no one at Shin Bet could discover who they were, Yousef secretly tracked down the culprits and learned that they were body guards for Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader who publicly pretended to hate the attacks. He also helped thwart assassination attempts on high Israeli officials4 and uncovered the mysterious masterminds behind Hamas before leaving Israel in 2007.5
During the same period, Yousef met a British Christian in Jerusalem, who invited him to a Bible study. There he received an English-Arabic New Testament and began to read it. Awed by Jesus’ ethic of love in the Sermon on the Mount, he continued to investigate Christianity and eventually committed his life to Jesus.6 However, becoming a Christian had consequences. For one, his father issued a statement in 2010 that he and his family had “completely disowned the man who was our oldest son and who is called Mosab.”7
According to Yousef, he knew that standing for Christ publicly and revealing his spying would prevent him from ever seeing his family again.8 But he did so out of a deep desire to see Middle Easterners of all races embrace Christianity. “[I]t’s a beautiful thing to see my God exist in my life and see the change in my life,” he said. “I see that when he does exist in the other Middle Easterners there will be a change [in the region’s political situation].”9 Naturally, such boldness for Christ did not sit well with his former Muslim cohorts. In fact, it resulted in death threats.
Though Hamas will probably not attack him on American soil, where he has applied for political asylum, his friends worry that an independent Muslim extremist could carry out an assassination.10 But Yousef does not allow danger to deter him from proclaiming Jesus’ saving power. “[W]e stand firm for our principles, for our beliefs, we say the truth, and this is not the time to give up,” he said. “Simply I am not going to hide. I will keep talking to them even [until] the last minute. [If] somebody is pointing a gun to me trying to kill me I will tell him about Jesus Christ and about the truth.”11
Of course, not all believers will be called to risk their lives like Yousef. Still, he serves as a reminder of the type of courage demanded from every disciple—courage to renounce all for Christ’s sake.
1 Mosab Hassan Yousef, Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2010), 227-228.
2 Ibid., 63-65.
3 Ibid., 84.
4 Ibid., 170-171.
5 Ibid., 220-221.
6 Ibid., 121-123, 227.
7 Matthew Kaminski, “They Need to Be Liberated From Their God,” Wall Street Journal Website, March 6, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703915204575103481069258868.html
(accessed April 9, 2010).
Mindy Belz, “Declaration of War,” World Magazine Website, April 10, 2010, http://www.worldmag.com/articles/16566 (accessed April 9, 2010).
11 Michelle A. Vu, “Transcript: Mosab Hassan Yousef on Terrorism, Christianity,” Christian Post Website, March 23, 2010, http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100323/transcript-mosab-hassan-yousef-on-terrorism-christianity/print.html (accessed April 9, 2010).
Thursday, May 06, 2010
From Son of Hamas to Child of God: Mosab Hassan Yousef
From Son of Hamas to Child of God: Mosab Hassan Yousef (1978 - )