Middle East

Ron’s #15: Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef

Son of Hamas has been discussed on several of the blogs I follow, and I was eager to read it. This book did not disappoint. It offered more insight into the Israel-Palestine conflict than anything else I’ve read. It offered a better face of Palestine, reveals problems with how Israel handles the occupation, and shows the power of the Christian message.

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Hassan Yousef, a founding member of Hamas (the acronym of Islamic Resistance Movement) in Palestine. The younger Yousef describes his father as a good Muslim with a love for his people. However, he begins to question the terrorist actions that Hamas is involved in, and works with Israel’s Shin Bet—the equivalent of our F.B.I.—as a spy. Imagine the son of Hamas passing on key information to Israel to thwart future attacks.

The story is more than a spy tale; it’s an account of the crisis of conscience that Yousef undergoes as he wants the best for his people while realizing that bombs and guns are not the answer. He is a man between two worlds, and he no longer belongs to either.

This alienation is complicated further when he meets a British missionary who invites him to a Bible study. Being an inquisitive man, Yousef attends and learns about the teachings of Jesus. Even though he isn’t yet a Christian, Yousef begins to put Jesus’ teaching into practice: he’s a Muslim becoming more Christi-like. Finally, in 2000, Mosab Yousef becomes a Christian.

I enjoyed this book because it was many genres in one: history book, spy thriller, political overview, and a conversion story. All are told well in this volume.

Son of Hamas is a book that you should read regardless of your religious persuasion or political affinities. It will provide you an important overview to the Middle East conflict, one that will be with us for some time to come.

Check out Mark's review here

Mark's #13 - Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices by Mosab Hassan Youseff (250 pages)

As Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of one of the seven founders of the Palestinian Hamas movement,  points out in the introduction to this book, most westerners have no clue as to the dynamics involved in the tension of the middle east.   Having read the book, I realized that I too fall into that category.   This is a great book at the inner workings of both the plight of the Palestinians and the Israeli spy agency called the Shin Bet.

Too often we offer simplistic solutions or ignorant remarks regarding the problems in the middle east.   Far too many Christians automatically support anything Israel does simply because they believe that somehow God is on the side of Israel and therefore they can do no wrong.  For a theological rebuttal to this position, let me encourage you to read this article by John Piper: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/2004/165_Israel_Palestine_and_the_Middle_East/

Yousef's story is more than just a story about a terrorist turned good guy.  It is the story of a terrorist who saw the senseless killings and suicide bombings and decided to be a part of the solution towards peace.  To do so, he was forced to betray his father, his family, his culture and his people and become a spy for Israel.   over a period of about ten years he provided crucial leads and information from the inner-circle of one of the world's most deadly terrorist organizations - which was led, in part, by his own father.

Along the journey, one day Mosab met a man from the United Kingdom who invited him to attend a Bible study in Jerusalem. Mosab agreed to go, not realizing that he was taking the first step in a six year journey toward Jesus Christ.   This is an amazing testimony to the power of God's love and grace... In fact it was the love and grace through Jesus Christ that so contrasted with the God of Islam and the example of Hamas members that drew his heart to the truth of the gospel.

I would encourage anybody and everybody to read this intriguing and insightful book - especially those serving in the military community.   Ignorance is not bliss.  It's time we understood a bit more about what we're fighting for.

For those of us who are Christians, it's also time to think and pray hard about these issues.  God loves both the Israelis and the Palestinians... He shed his blood to purchase for himself a people from EVERY tribe, tongue and nation (Rev. 5:9).

5 Stars

PS - Sorry Ron, I beat you to the punch on this one... thanks for loaning me the book :)