Son of Hamas Book Review
TITLE: Son of Hamas
AUTHOR: Mosab Hassan Yousef
If there is one take away from this book written by MHY, it is this perspective seen through his experiences and eyes. Myopia? Perhaps, but until we have walked a mile in his shoes we should be hesitant to make a distinction as to the reality of this statement or not.
“Religion is not the solution. Religion without Jesus is just self-righteousness. Freedom from oppression will not resolve things either. Delivered from the oppression of Europe, Israel became the oppressor. Delivered from persecution, Muslims became persecutors. Abused spouses and children often go on to abuse spouses and children. It is a cliché, but it is still true: hurt people, unless they are healed, hurt people.”
However, this book shows us the marvelous way God interacted to bring this young man out of Islam into His glorious light. As a reader, one begins to relate not only personally but emotionally as Mosab reveals his thoughts and his summary of all of his experiences.
In reading this book, Mr. Yousef walks you through 10 arduous years of being a student, a militant, a terrorist, a prisoner, and a double agent. He shares how God marvelously orchestrated his life to have interactions with the Israelis, the militant organizations of Hamas; with his father as the head of that organization; the PLO, Yassar Arafat, who he labeled as the chief hypocrite and liar of the PLO. He noted that it was Arafat, who filled his pockets with the bread of those he claimed to love yet refused to stop any bloodshed all because he relished the limelight of the media than the hearts of his people. In fact, if there is one person who orchestrated and enslaved the Palestinians with wrath, hatred, and violence, Mosab relates, it was Arafat. In addition, the author shares with us how he saw the other side of the “pigs” or the Jews as Muslims refer to them as well as Christians, as he interacted and came to know the Jews of Shin Bet, the Israeli “CIA-FBI”. What he had been taught and what he experienced did not measure up. Mosab had many questions and many times of pondering ideas in his intelligence work as a Shin Bet counteragent. He had no answers.
Mosab’s life began to make a turn to the Messiah over several years through what the world would call “chance encounters” but believers in Christ would call a “divine appointments”. The first was between a young man in Jerusalem waiting at a street corner and his invitation to Mosab to join him and some other young people his age to a Bible Study and receiving a gift of a New Testament, which would forever alter his views of the Messiah. Another was as he described as a foolish decision to get guns and sharing details heard over a monitored cell phone which led him to prison and torture and interrogation. It was in these dark times, in and out of prison, as well as continued times with the young people in that Bible study, that he began to seriously question Allah that his father loved so much and the Qur’an that revered taught a revengeful God in contrast to the peaceful Jesus he was encountering through the written word.
It was at one point that God led the Shin Bet to inquire as to his willingness to work for them in gathering intelligence to find and usurp plans of suicide bombers and other protestations of violence. Mosab struggled with this decision, but finally to protect his family and in particular his father as the Palestinian head of Hamas he accepted the assignment.
At one point he shares as he languished in prison reading a full Bible he found on a bookshelf, retrieving Christian books being used as fuel to learn English that he began to question more and more the god of the Qur’an and the God of the Bible. In addition, Mosab writes:
“I was frustrated with just about everything. I was frustrated with the corruption of the PA, the stupidity and cruelty of Hamas, and the seemingly endless line of terrorists who had to be taken out or put down.”
He began to ask more and more the question of why. Mosab saw the hypocrisy of those who said they believed in Allah yet were willing to disobey the Qur’an if it met their goal. He questioned his father who did not participate in the violence but also did not use his position to stop it either. He became aware of the hypocrisy of the Muslims as they harbored fugitives; allowed precious children to become willing victims of suicide bombers and the “joy” of parents who saw them as martyrs. His constant prayer was “if you, God, are real, show me”. How can I as a Muslim follow the ways of Jesus and yet obey Allah? God continued to woo him to Himself as He promised and continued to shower His protection upon himself and his father. The final turning point came from an unlikely source, the TV on Al-Hayat. It was there that he heard the Coptic priest Zakaria Botros and realized it was an answer to his prayer.
“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.”
As a book it takes some time to follow the train of thought of all of Mosab’s “adventures” from being just a son of Islam, a son of the highest ranking officer of Hamas, to the double agent for Shin Bet to his realization that not only is Islam not the true way, not only is jihad and terrorism a futile battle, but to finally realizing that without coming to know the Truth, the Way, the Life in Jesus, there is no hope for Israel or Palestine.
There are several truths that came through in this book: God uses divine appointments to draw men to Himself and Mosab is an example of that, God or Jehovah/Yahweh loves everyone and is not willing that any perish but all come to repentance; and lastly God is not partial to anyone be they Jew or Muslim. God seeks men to bring them to know His Son and His saving grace.
This book is an eye-opener to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict helping the reader to further understand the mental, emotional, social, and physical conflict being fomented by both sides. Both Jew and Arab are showing their worst side and each side wants to protect their own. Mosab reveals to us the futility of this without Messiah as the true leader. An excellent read for anyone interested in this conflict which is on-going and in our newspapers each day.