Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a Hamas founder, traded terrorism for Christ and says the only path to Mideast peace is Jesus.
Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a founder of the Palestinian terror group Hamas, was reared to fight for militant Islam. But a visit to a Bible study in Jerusalem changed everything, and after nearly six years of studying Scripture Yousef gave his life to Christ in 2005.
Today, the 31-year-old is telling Israelis and Palestinians alike that Jesus is the way to salvation and forgiveness is the only lasting plan to peace. "I had to do this," said Yousef, who details his conversion in a recent book, Son of Hamas. "This changed my life. As it changed my life, I had hope it can change other people's lives."
The oldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a respected imam and one of seven founders of Hamas, he went public with his conversion in 2008. With the release of Son of Hamas in March, he acknowledged that he spied for Shin Bet, Israel's intelligence service. "I did what I had to do because I had been witnessing a lot of blood, a lot of killing, and I felt responsible," he said.
Yousef's father, who is still jailed, has denied his son's account of Hamas and believes Yousef is bound for hell.
Yousef hopes Christians who hear this testimony will avoid siding with Jews or Muslims, instead looking at both through the eyes of Christ. Although not calling on Christians to drop their support for Israel, Yousef said they need to see Muslims as victims rather than criminals.
He said a major problem with ending the conflict is a widespread failure to appreciate its ideological roots and the divide between the God of the Quran and the God of the Bible. "If we don't fight their motive, if we don't fight their ideology, if we don't challenge their ideology, suicide bombers, extremists will keep coming," he said.
Still, Christians can help by adjusting their attitudes toward Muslims and Palestinians. They will never believe in Jesus' love if those who profess to follow Christ look down on them, he said. "God is with everybody who is suffering because of this conflict," Yousef said. "And God doesn't take sides. God is taking over. This is the way we should view Jesus Christ."
Yousef says leaving his homeland in 2007 has been painful, and he has had to constantly keep his eyes on Christ. But he refuses to stop proclaiming the gospel. "I am not going to hide," he said. "I will keep talking to them even the last minute. [Even if] somebody is pointing a gun to me trying to kill me, I will tell him about Jesus Christ and about the truth."
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