The Ultimate Rebellion: How the Son of a Hamas Terrorist Became a Spy for Israel
In 2010 Mosab Hassan Yousef gained much public attention through his book Son of Hamas, which highlighted his heroic break from the Palestinian Terrorists Organization he was born into 33 years ago, his subsequent conversion to Christianity and his decade long undercover work for Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet.
On Wednesday, February 23, 2011 Yousef visited Columbia, South Carolina, and in collaboration with Rabbi H. Epstein addressed an audience to tell his story.
“I came directly from the airport and didn’t have time to change” Yousef jokes. In his leather jacket and jeans, he looks cool; he is confident and immediately charms the audience. It is almost impossible to imagine that this man once had aspirations of being a fighter and a killer for Hamas.
“I have been warned to be careful about what I say tonight. But now I have a question for you: Do you want me to be politically correct, or do you want me to speak the truth?” Yousef asks the expectant audience. “Truth!” they chant unanimously.
Yousef’s tale begins in Ramallah where he was born. He says he fasted on Ramadan, the most holy Islamic festival of the year, for the first time when he was five years old. He attended a Sharia school where in addition to becoming versed in the laws of the Qur’an, was taught, like thousands of other young Palestinian boys, to despise the Israeli occupiers. “I had reason to hate them. They took my father away, for years. As the oldest I was responsible for my entire family.”
His father, sheikh Hassan Yousef, who has officially and publically disowned his son, was one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the Hamas terrorist organization, and although he spent many years in prison, was a key player in orchestrating suicide attacks and riots, which lead to hundreds of deaths.
When Yousef was arrested and imprisoned at the age of seventeen for buying illegal weapons, his life changed forever. The Shin Bet offered him a job as a double agent after a short imprisonment, which would be necessary to cover his tracks. “I agreed to work for them but I only had one agenda in my mind: Revenge.”
Yousef explains how his experience in prison, particularly his witness to the brutality of Hamas members towards their own people, deeply shocked him and shook his entire conception of what he had believed. He began to question the political pursuit of Hamas, and challenge the values and foundations of Islam itself. He finally denounced his Muslim faith entirely and converted to Christianity.
“Islam is not a peaceful religion,” says Yousef. “The Muslim people are peaceful, but Islam is not, the Qur’an is not. There are a few verses in the Qur’an about love and peace but it is very conditional.”
Yousef blames ignorance for the ongoing terrorist problem in certain branches of the Muslim community. “Muslims are not terrorists in nature, and most of them do not even understand their own religion. They read it, they listen to it, they chant it every day, but they do not understand it.” Yousef describes the prophet Mohammed, the central figure in Muslim tradition, as a rapist and a murderer who preached hate and destruction. Yousef has plans to direct a movie depicting the true nature of Mohammed, as described in the Qur’an, to better educate the millions of illiterate Muslims who, according to him, blindly follow his commands and instructions.
Yousef went on to reiterate what he expressed on Fox News three months ago:
“I believe Islam is on the downfall. Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter is so powerful and can be used to educate people about the true nature of this religion. I am involved in an organization which has just finished translating the Qur’an into Arab ‘street language’, so that people can actually understand what their religion is about. Once exposed, I believe Islam will collapse.”
While Yousef’s story is courageous, his views are clearly the result of his personal negative experiences. Tomorrow’s challenges are not to eradicate any particular religion; rather, to moderate extremist views through education and mutual appreciation and respect.