- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The man who turned on his father, a founder of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and then spied against the organization for Israel won an immigration case Wednesday that will allow him to avoid deportation and stay in the United States.

Mosab Hassan Yousef received a favorable immigration court ruling in San Diego and can now seek political asylum. The ruling came after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) abruptly withdrew its contention that Mr. Yousef should be kicked out of the country because of his ties to Hamas.

An immigration judge ruled that Mr. Yousef is eligible for asylum if he passes a routine background check. Government lawyer Kerri Calcador gave no explanation for the government’s change of heart, the Associated Press reported.

Brian P. Hale, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said, “During a hearing this morning, DHS attorneys recommended to the court that Mr. Yousef be granted the requested relief.”

Mr. Yousef is tied to Hamas through his relationship with his father, Sheik Hassan Yousef, one of the founders of the organization. The elder Yousef is now in an Israeli prison and has denounced his son for his conversion to Christianity and his admission that he spied for Israel’s domestic intelligence service, the Shin Bet.

Mr. Yousef’s handler for the Shin Bet, Gonen Ben-Itzhak, traveled to San Diego to testify on behalf of his former agent. At a dinner honoring Mr. Yousef last week in Washington, Mr. Ben-Itzhak said the son of the Hamas leader had saved American and Israeli lives with the information he provided while posing as a terrorist.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Mr. Yousef said he was happy.

“All of the sudden I became eligible for political asylum,” he said, laughing. “Before I was a threat to U.S. national security because I had an affiliation with a terrorist organization.”

In the last several weeks, the U.S. Jewish community rallied to Mr. Yousef’s cause to stay in the United States. Members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and members of Congress wrote to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, Colorado Republican, organized a letter to Mr. Holder and Ms. Napolitano signed by 22 Republican House members urging Ms. Napolitano to grant the Palestinian asylum.

The letter stated that “Mr. Yousef’s conversion to Christianity and work with Israeli intelligence services would place Mr. Yousef in grave danger should he be forced to return to the Middle East.”

Mr. Yousef said for now he intends to continue public speaking against terrorism and what he has called the main cause of terrorism in the Middle East, Islam.

“The problem in Islam is very clear if we look at the personality of the God of Islam. You will understand it is not the religion of peace,” he said.

Hamas, the organization co-founded by his father, seeks to impose a strict version of Islamic law across the area it considers Palestine, which also includes the modern state of Israel.

“I will expose the ideological dimension of the motivation of terrorists, why terrorists are attacking Americans, why are they doing this,” he said.

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