What little I know of Hamas I have gleaned from scant news reports, but never have I had the desire to learn beyond it. I do know Muslims are, for the most part, bent on destruction as the Qur’an dictates, but Mosab gives us an account of both sides of Islam.
“Many people in the West who stereotype all Muslims as terrorists don’t know about the side of Islam that reflects love and mercy. It cares for the poor, widows and orphans. It facilitates education and welfare. It unites and strengthens. This is the side of Islam that motivated those early leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Of course, there is also the other side, the one that calls all Muslims to jihad, to struggle and contend with the world until they establish a global caliphate, led by one holy man who rules and speaks for Allah. This will be important for you to understand and to remember as we go along.”
From page one, Mosab held me as he talked lovingly of his father. He talks about his assent in becoming one of the most powerful spies of Shin Bet in Israel. He saved many lives by endangering his own as he lived a double life for years. He endured harsh prison conditions and watched as fellow inmates were persecuted by Hamas. Hamas tortured and harmed its own out of sheer pleasure. What surprised me was Mosab’s declaration:
“But my dad was against the DOP. He didn’t trust Israel or the PLO and therefore put no trust in the peace process. Other Hamas leaders, he explained, had their own reasons for opposing it, including the risk that a peace accord might actually stick! Peaceful coexistence would mean the end of Hamas. From their perspective, the organization could not thrive in a peaceful atmosphere. Other resistant groups also had a stake in the continuation of conflict. It’s hard to achieve peace in a place where so many have different goals and interests.”
Mosab goes through the history of Muslims and his family. His father was the head of Hamas. In essence, his father was likened to a king and he, a prince, in his homeland. When his father was around, people treated him and his mother like royalty. They always had much to eat and plenty of clothes to wear; at least until his father got arrested by the Israelis. During those imprisonments, Mosab and his family struggled to put food on the table. One day his mother began making baklava to sell to the workers. It brought money into the household until his terrorist uncle spied him begging on the streets. After that, his mother cried bitterly they would sell no more baklava.
Online sources talk about the amazing number of Muslims that are turning to Christ especially after the Pakistan flood. After reading Mosab’s account of struggle during the years of his father’s imprisonment, I can understand why Muslims are coming to Christ now.
“I was angry. I didn’t understand why our neighbors and family wouldn’t help us. And on top of that, they had the nerve to judge us for trying to help ourselves. I wondered if the real reason they would not lend a hand to our family was that they were afraid of getting into trouble themselves if the Israelis thought they were helping terrorists. But we weren’t just terrorists. Neither was my father. Sadly, that would change, too.”
But Mosab’s story is so much more than just another testimony! This man was the son of a well known, high ranking Hamas leader. It’s a miracle Mosab came to know Christ. He was raised in a household of extreme ideas with family who would later coax children to strap bombs to their bodies and walk into crowded areas only to die. His father never directly backed that idea, but he never went against it either. Mosab makes a great comparison between his father and Saul (as in Paul):
“No, my father did not build the bombs, strap them onto the bombers or select the targets. But years later I would think of my father’s answer when I encountered a story in a Christian Bible that describes the stoning of a young innocent named Stephen. It said, “Saul was there, giving approval to his death” (Acts 8:1).”
This book is deeply historical and gives insight into the Middle East struggle for peace.
“But we are not accomplishing anything. We’re fighting a war that can’t be won with arrests, interrogations, and assassinations. Our enemies are ideas, and ideas don’t care about incursions or curfews. We can’t blow up an idea with a Merkava. You are not our problem, and we are not yours. We’re all like rats trapped in a maze. I can’t do it anymore. My time is over” I knew this was a hard blow to the Shin Bet. We were in the middle of a war.”
More powerful though was how God protected him from death in moments where the explosion of missiles rocked his car, or in avoiding discovery from the Hamas terror cells all around him. He was a mole for Israel’s Shin Bet, one of their top spy organizations, comparable to our CIA, and now lives in the United States, retired from spy work in Israel. The book reads like a James Bond novel, but the hero in this case has a strong set of morals and a growing compassion. That compassion, he says, was inspired from his father who began as a caring and loving Imam, but later, like so many moderate Muslims climbed the rungs of the ladder to Jihad.
“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 cliche, but it’s still true: hurt people, unless they are healed, hurt people.” He goes on to say that, “truth and forgiveness are the only solutions for the Middle East. The challenge, especially between Israelis and Palestinians, is not to find the solution. The challenge is to be the first courageous enough to embrace it.”
I know have a better understanding of the Middle East and am continually amazed at the power of God.
Book provided by the publisher for review. I am not required to give a positive review.