Mosab Hassan Yousef: A “Spiritual Trophy” After All

Interesting observations from Shayna Zamkanei in Haaretz about Mosab Hassan Yousef, the famous “Son of Hamas” who collaborated with Israel to prevent acts of terrorism and who now lives in the USA:

Although his love for Israel has grown since he moved to the United States in 2007, his ability to think critically about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has diminished. While writing “Son of Hamas,” his 2010 memoir, Yousef was acutely sensitive to the needs of the Palestinian people… Critically, he maintained that although he had collaborated with Israel, he was “not pro-Israeli.”…  He conscientiously and continuously drew attention to the suffering of Palestinians, both at the hands of Israelis and of Hamas and Fatah leaders.

…Yet, over the last two years, Yousef’s discourse has shifted. In a talk sponsored by Chabad in Montreal last year, he suggested that Palestinians would destroy their own future by establishing a state.

Yousef’s new approach to the Palestinian issue – namely, capitulation – marks a clear departure from his earlier stance. Furthermore, rather than defining the conflict as an Israeli-Palestinian struggle over land, he views the problem as rooted in a regional ideological war between democracy and totalitarianism.

…Why does the specific historic and political context of the conflict no longer seem to matter for Yousef? Perhaps, as he claims, living in America has exposed him to the American Jewish community, which in turn has shaped his views. Yet during this same period, he also immersed himself in an evangelical environment. He joined the Barabbas Road Church, named America’s “Church of the Week” by Pat Robertson’s “700 Club,” which is more “pro-Israel” than most American Jews.

Zamkanei notes that Yousef is also planning to make a film; Yousef has stated that the film will “expose the life of Muhammad”.

In March 2010, Yousef gave an interview to GQ, in which he expressed his intention avoid becoming a “spiritual trophy” and his opposition to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. At the time, I thought it possible that he might resist the lure of a career as a professional ex-Muslim. A few months later, however, his hostility towards Islam was deployed in the service of rabble-rousers when he jumped on the anti-“Ground Zero Mosque” bandwagon with an appearence on Fox News warning that “every mosque is a danger on American soil”.

That was just an early sign: Yousef’s transformation appears to have occurred following a scathing attack by Walid Shoebat, who is also an ex-Muslim of Palestinian heritage. Shoebat has made a career out of visiting churches and conservative groups with lurid tales of Muslim depravity and about how Obama is a secret Muslim and such;  although he initially endorsed Yousef and sought to work with him, in 2011 Shoebat went on to accuse him of being a secret Muslim sent to “infiltrate” American churches. In turn, a Shin Bet officer close to Yousef mocked Shoebat’s claims to have committed an act of terrorism in the 1970s.

Joel Richardson (author of the Robert Spencer-endorsed book The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast) saw the need for damage control:

…Walid and Yousef have both opened the idea of meeting together to work through their disagreements. My hope is that beyond reconciling as brothers in Christ with very similar pasts, Yousef would also come around to understand that if one is to truly follow Jesus, they must move on to embrace the full revelation of who Jesus is, what He does when He returns and whose side He has told us He will be on.

One way or another, it seems that Yousef got the message that even a mild lack of enthusiasm for the idea of Greater Israel is simply unacceptable and contrary to God’s purposes. One can see why he might acquiesce: here is a man estranged from his family, who has got used to having an audience, and who now spends his time among new co-religionists who have been Christians for far longer than he.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post has details of Yousef’s film projects:

He is working with Israeli film producer and actor Sam Feuer. Feuer played the role of Yosef Romano in the film Munich and is releasing the movie The First Grader in the fall. Feuer will produce both a feature film adaptation of Son of Hamas as well as the Muhammad movie, and insists that the film will be a “historical account” faithful to Muslim texts.

…Yousef said the film would be a historical depiction of Muhammad’s life as told through Ibn Ishaq, an Arab historian from the eighth century who is believed to be one of the most reliable biographers of the prophet. Feuer said the movie has already interested sponsors and a major screenwriter who is in the process of creating the script.

The Son of Hamas film was announced in March; according to Deadline:

David Aaron Cohen has signed on to adapt Son of Hamas, the bestselling memoir that Mosab Hassan Yousef wrote with Ron Brackin. The project has been set up independently and will be produced by Richard Harding and Sam Feuer of Sixth Sense Productions, and Southpaw Entertainment’s Richard Lewis. Development is being financed by The Shea Family Foundation, whose Darin Shea and will be exec producing with Dennis Baker. Southpaw’s Gabrielle Jerou will coproduce.

2 Responses

  1. The “ex-Muslim” phenomenom doesn’t seem to have an equivalent in respect of other faith groups. Or does it?

    • Protestants used to have a keen interest in “ex-Catholics” with lurid tales about convents and such, but it went out of fashion some time ago. And in 1970s and 1980s there were a number of supposed “ex-Satanists” and “ex-witches” who went around churches peddling paperbacks. They caused a lot of harm.

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