The son of one of the founders of Hamas is turning his back not only on the organization that now controls Gaza, but the religion that so animates the followers of the group his father helped create.
Speaking on Wednesday night to the Endowment for Middle East Truth, a pro-Israel organization that focuses on radical Islam in education and media, Mosab Hassan Yousef said, “The god of Islam is the god of hate.”
Mr. Yousef’s father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, is a leading imam within Hamas, a group that seeks to impose Islamic law throughout the territory it considers Palestine, land that also encompasses the modern state of Israel.
The younger Mr. Yousef came to the United States in 2007, but only sought publicity after the publication of his memoir, “The Son of Hamas,” this year.
His book details the harrowing story of his recruitment by Israel’s Shin Bet, the country’s domestic intelligence and security service. At the dinner, the man who recruited and mentored Mr. Yousef when the Imam’s son was undercover for Israel, revealed his identity to the public for the first time.
Introduced by his former agent as a “great friend and a brother,” Goner Ben-Itzhak told the audience that he flew to the United States in order to testify before a San Diego immigration hearing on behalf of Mr. Yousef.
“I have known him for more than nine years,” Mr. Ben-Itzhak said. “He has prevented killing and violence.”
Mr. Yousef faces a possible deportation due to charges, ironically, that he is a terrorist affiliated with Hamas.
Mr. Yousef is not the first scion of an Islamic leader that has turned on political Islam. Hossein Khomeini, the grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini Khomeini, the father of Iran’s Islamic revolution, toured Washington in 2003 and told this journalist that he supported the violent overthrow of the Iran’s government.
But in the case of the younger Khomeini, he did not turn on the faith of Islam, only the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mr. Yousef condemned the entire religion.
Mr. Yousef now calls himself a devout Christian, giving credit for his life today to “[his] God on the cross.”
He also said that the greatest problem facing his fellow Palestinians was the religion of Islam.
“They want to destroy Israel while they worship the God that is really their enemy every day,” he said. “There is no denying that they are worshiping their greatest enemy every day while they are looking for enemies.”
He continued, “What would happen if Israel just disappeared from the map? There is no Israel anymore. Would there be peace in the Middle East? Palestinians would kill each other, I guarantee you.”
At the end of his address to the organization, Mr. Yousef said that he was convinced there were other “heroes,” as he called them, that were cooperating with Israel in the Palestinian territories.
“We have lots of heroes,” he said. “They work in the shadows to defeat this evil god.”