Former Hamas member becomes Christian, stays in the U.S.

By July 8, 2010

USA (MNN) — In a recent court order, a former Hamas agent was granted asylum in the United States.

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a higher-up in the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas. Mosab Yousef told CNN that he was first involved with the group by throwing stones at people as a nine-year-old boy. He later began to work for Hamas.

In 1997, Yousef was imprisoned by the Israeli intelligence group Shin Bet. Shin Bet asked Yousef to work for them. He accepted, planning to be a double agent for Shin Bet and Hamas, knowing he would be able to infiltrate the Israeli group from the inside with such an opportunity. But, Yousef told CNN, while in prison he saw Hamas leaders torturing Hamas members. Realizing that Shin Bet actually had greater moral integrity than Hamas, he switched his allegiance and still became a double agent, but now fighting for Shin Bet to take down Hamas terrorists.

Yousef later became a Christian, which, he explained to CNN, had much to do with the principle of loving your enemies taught by Jesus. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Yousef rejected the Islamic faith in 2005 and moved to San Diego in 2007, where he prayed about writing a book about his life as a spy. Doing this would reveal his secrets and put him in grave danger of being killed by Hamas members if he was not protected. Nonetheless, he published Son of Hamas this past March .

Knowing he would need protection, Yousef applied for asylum in the U.S. but his plea was denied.

"This man, Mosab Hassan Yousef, was really in quite a bit of danger of being deported after it was found (obviously) that he had some association with the terrorist group Hamas," says Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. The Union-Tribune said Homeland Security lawyers were initially suspicious of Yousef's involvement (which he discussed in his book) with Hamas, apparently unsure he had really changed his allegiance.

Yet, after only a 15-minute hearing last week, Homeland Security Immigration Court Judge Richard Bartolomei granted Yousef asylum. Yousef walked away grateful, praising the country for its protection of liberty.

Yousef was not the only one cheering. "He was under great threat. We're actually very grateful that the U.S. saw fit to grant him asylum here in the United States," says Moeller.

Moeller is glad that this Christian man will be protected but notes that this is unfortunately not the case for most Middle Eastern believers.

"This case brings up a number of issues that Christians in the Middle East face on a regular basis, particularly those who do reject terrorism and who do embrace Christianity from a Muslim background," says Moeller. "They are exposed to threats, and they don't have the notoriety of Yousef. They will often be threatened with death and, in some cases, killed simply because of their conversion to Christianity."

Yousef is safe in the U.S., but many believers are in danger. Pray for the safety of these faithful brothers and sisters as they stand up for Christ. Pray that Yousef will also be safe in the United States and will be a testimony for the Lord as he denounces terrorism around the U.S.

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