Son of Hamas

I know Masab Hassan Yousef as well as you do. Perhaps you remember the blip on your news radar screen a few years ago when the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef came to America after converting to Christianity from Islam. He is back. He has a new book out this week entitled Son of Hamas.

I have to admit that I have never endorsed a book prior to reading it before…and I am not doing that now (gotcha). However, after reading a sit-down interview with Yousef  in the Wall Street Journal, I am definitively going to get his book and am compelled to have you perhaps consider his story as well.

Yousef’s story is no simple conversion experience, but includes a person who was present at meetings when Hamas was first formed, dealings with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, working as a double agent for the Shin Bet (part of the Israeli Intelligence Network) – confirmed by by the Israeli Security Agency, exposing assassination and suicide bomber plots that reached to the highest levels in Palestinian-Israeli relationships, prison experiences and a taxi driver who invited him to a bible study.

The most compelling part of his interview was his perspective of Christianity and Jesus in his life. In his interview he said,

I converted to Christianity because I was convinced by Jesus Christ as a character, as a personality. I loved him, his wisdom, his love, his unconditional love. I didn’t leave [the Islamic] religion to put myself in another box of religion. At the same time it’s a beautiful thing to see my God exist in my life and see the change in my life. I see that when he does exist in other Middle Easterners there will be a change.

I’m not trying to convert the entire nation of Israel and the entire nation of Palestine to Christianity. But at least if you can educate them about the ideology of love, the ideology of forgiveness, the ideology of grace. Those principles are great regardless, but we can’t deny they came from Christianity as well.

Without reading the book YET and not knowing all of his thoughts on what it means to be a Christian a couple of things jump out at me.

  1. Jesus comes to save people from every people group. Christianity’s mission is not to make other cultures like Western Culture. We are about making disciples of all people and giving the great news to people that we can be saved from our owned rebellion against God.  Yousef commented that “when he [Jesus] does exist in other Middle Easterners there will be a change.” I agree with him on the necessary solution. Jesus is the answer. I would go farther than him and say I am trying to convert both Israel and Palestine. I do not think all will convert nor am I arguing for a sort of forced conversion, just that true peace can only come when Jesus becomes Lord.
  2. Yousef touches up on something that is really big when he says, “I didn’t leave [the Islamic] religion to put myself in another box of religion.” It is not an issue of how good we are – it is an issue of grace. To live in grace means to live in the relationship of Jesus Christ. Not try to prove your worth to God. Yousef’s desire to know Jesus more than the day before is a dynamic relationship that is born out of grace, not out of self-righteous piety. The difference is the theological separation from Christianity and every other religion in the world.
  3. The concept of grace, forgiveness and agape love are concepts that are Christian. He is right to make the connection.
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