Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices

Son of Hamas which reads like a spy novel, is a courageous and insightful memoir of a young man who witnessed firsthand the darkest side of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of the founding leader of Hamas, internationally recognized as a terrorist organization, responsible for countless suicide bombings and other deadly attacks against Israel, witnessed things no one should ever 
before their 21st birthday: Poverty, abuse
of power, torture and death.
Son of Hamas is an amazing psychological profile of this young man's experiences and the choices he makes. It is politically, psychologically and spiritually powerful. The most chilling sentence in the whole book is when he states that a moderate Muslim is actually more dangerous than a fundamentalist, however, because he appears to be harmless, and you can never tell when he has taken the next step toward the top. Most suicide bombers began as moderates.

Yousef bought into radical Islam and saw Israel and the Jews as his enemy. He recounts the facts surrounding one of many suicide bombings: 
On Wed., April 13, 1994--twenty-one-year-old Amar Salah Diab Amarna entered the Hadera bus station between Haifa and Tel Aviv in central Israel. He carried a bag containing hardware and over four pounds of homemade acetone peroxide explosive. At 9:30, he boarded the bus to Tel Aviv. Ten minutes later, as the bus was pulling out of the station, he placed the bag on the floor and detonated it. The shrapnel ripped through the passengers on the bus, killing six and wounding thirty. A second pipe bomb exploded at the scene just as rescue workers arrived. This was the "second in a series of five attacks" in revenge for Hebron, a Hamas pamphlet later announced. I was proud of Hamas, and I saw the attacks as a huge victory against the Israeli occupation. At fifteen years of age, I saw everything in stark black and white. There were good guys and bad guys. And the bad guys deserved everything they got. 
Israeli prison in Megiddo
It was not until his own imprisonment for the purchase of illegal weapons that his eyes were opened to the fact that Palestinians were torturing other Palestinians in prison if they did not comply with their ideals and deadly goals. 
He writes: Time dragged on. Suspicion grew. Every day there was screaming, every night, torture. Hamas was torturing its own people! As much as I wanted to, I simply could no find a way to justify that!.....One mornng at four-o'clock, a guy ran through the section, scrambled up and over the perimeter fence, and in twenty seconds was outside the camp, his cloths and his flesh shredded by the razor wire. An Israeli tower guard swung his machine gun around and took aim.
 "Don't shoot!" the guy screamed. "Don't shoot! I'm not trying to escape. I'm trying to get away from them!" And he pointed to the Hamas leaders who glared out at him through the fence….Was this Hamas? Was this Islam? So who was my enemy now? 
Mosab Yousef is recruited into the Shin-Bet (the Israeli intelligence organization), and becoming the agency's most valuable asset in preventing terrorist attacks and bringing terrorist leaders to justice. For ten years, Mosab lived a double life, seen as a leader of Hamas by all but a few, all the while passing information to the Israeli intelligence.

Once out of prison, Mosab unexpectedly found himself invited to a Bible study, and out of curiosity, he went. As he began studying the Gospels and reading his own copy of the New Testament, he realized that Jesus Christ had the only real solution.

He says, “I began at the beginning, and when I got to the Sermon on the Mount, I thought, Wow, this guy Jesus is really impressive! Everything he says is beautiful! I couldn't put the book down. Every verse seemed to touch a deep wound in my life. It was a very simple message, but somehow it had the power to heal my soul and give me hope. Then I read this: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:43-45). That's it! I was thunderstruck by these words. Never before had I heard anything like this, but I knew that this was the message I had been searching for all my life.” 
He continues: “Five years earlier, I would have read the words of Jesus and thought, What an idiot! And thrown away the Bible. But my experiences with my crazy butcher neighbor, the family members and religious leaders who beat me when my father was in prison, and my own time at Megiddo had all combined to prepare me for the power and beauty of this truth. All I could think in response was, "Wow! What wisdom this man had!"
In the end, Mosab realizes that "it no longer mattered who my friends or who my enemies were; I was supposed to love them all." He sees that the true enemy of both Jews and Muslims -- and everyone else -- is sin. The solution to the conflict in the Middle East is neither religious nor political, and peace will not come through violence.
Mosab has received enormous media coverage -- Haaretz, Ynet News, CNN, Fox, NBC, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, and Forbes, among many others, but sad to say, most of the reporting has glossed over the spiritual aspect of his journey.

This is an amazing autobiography that will give you a real history lesson on what is going on in the Middle East. The story pulls you in and at times you feel like you’re reading a fictional spy novel, but this is the real thing. It’s a fast read and not easy to put down. You’ll never hear a news story about Israel or the Palestinians without thinking of what you’ve read in this book.

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