Son of Hamas

by Mosab Hassan Yousef

Other authorsRon Brackin
Sound Recording, 2010



Call number




[Carol Stream, Ill.] : SaltRiver, c2010.


The oldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding member of Hamas and its most popular leader, reveals new information about the world's most dangerous terrorist organization and unveils the truth about his own role, his agonizing separation from family and homeland, the dangerous decision to make his newfound faith public, and his belief that the Christian mandate to "love your enemies" is the only way to peace in the Middle East.

User reviews

LibraryThing member krazy4katz
I do not know how to rate this book. The story is gripping and the author paints what I suspect is a true picture of the complex ties between different factions among the Israelis and the Palestinians, as well as their supporters in Arab nations and in the U.S. The violence and waste of humanity is
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clearly set out. The IDF does one thing, the Shin Bet another. The CIA does one thing, the PLO does another, Hamas does another. Such a waste of money, effort and humanity. Yousef's story of working for Shin Bet is so amazing that it is difficult to believe, but I know of no evidence to discredit it. His conversion to Christianity is not well-described, but appears to be genuine. Alas, I fear cloaking oneself in another religion will not help. His perspective on Islam seems to be similar to that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Being Jewish, I know very little about Islam, but I know many muslims would disagree with his perspective, which is entirely the Hamas perspective. I have always felt that every religion has been used as a weapon at one time or another. The level of damage is simply proportional to the amount of power that religion happens to have at that time. But back to the subject: I really, really enjoyed reading this book. Yes, the historical details may not be quite accurate, as some have pointed out, but other details about current events in the occupied territories are better explained. Overall, I guess I hope this book is true and that the author finds peace in his life. As for the Israelis and Palestinians, peace must come someday, but no one can predict when that will happen.
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LibraryThing member bsiemens
If I think I have mixed feelings about the book, I should not forget the obviously mixed feelings that the author has about the life that he found himself born into. It's worth a read because it presents a perspective about the Middle East that we never hear. And yes, there is controversy
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surrounding this author.
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LibraryThing member johnbotkin
This book was one of the best biographies I have read in a long time. First, it helped me understand the massive complexities in the Middle East. Understanding the history and motivations of groups like Hamas, the PLO, and the PA make the news more understandable, and reveal a very gray situation
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with good and bad on both sides of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

But the book is about more than politics. It is also about a boy who becomes a man, caught up in events bigger than himself, all the while unsure of his conflicted feelings about his father, Hamas, and the people he is supposed to hate. All of this is compounded by his exposure to the teaching of Jesus which also begin to transform his thinking and character, while he is simultaneously serving as a leader to his people and a spy to Israel Shin Bet, trying to save lives on both sides.

Overall, a gripping tale that is more interesting than most works of fiction.
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LibraryThing member CarolynSchroeder
This is a true and remarkable story about one the author being born into the Islamic Hamas Palestinian group and following his Father through its highest ranks. However, he soon becomes an Israeli informant when he can no longer justify and sit by and watch the cruelty and death caused by Hamas,
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all in the conflicted (and often misinterpreted) name of Islam. Yousef is unbelievably brave to have taken the chances he did but in doing so, he saved countless lives. He also lead a very, very lonely life to do so. This is by no means a well written memoir, it suffers there, but the story is very well worth reading. This is the first source ever that actually made me understand, at its core, what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about and why efforts at peace continue to fail. I learned a LOT. This is a quick read that often feels like fiction due to how remarkable the author's life was. My only other complaint is that it is kind of a "Bible thumper" regarding the authors conversion to Christianity and that got a bit tiresome. While it may have been the author's salvation, it seems patently unrealistic that it will be the solution to the problems in the Middle East (what he seems to suggest). But he lost his family and everything he knew to stand for peace and loving people not like ourselves (not a spoiler, he leads in with that); and that is just amazing. He is a quiet hero in a big, ongoing war/conflict.
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LibraryThing member schatzi
I thought that this book would be better than it actually was. The narrative just didn't flow well (probably because the author's native language isn't English), so it felt like I was slogging through the chapters instead of actually enjoying the book. The author did have some interesting insights
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into the Palestine-Israel conflict, especially considering that he is the son of one of Hamas' founders.

I really became disinterested in the tale when the author converted to Christianity, however. It's all fine and good that he did, but he doesn't seem to have much knowledge about his new faith. He keeps telling the readers how bloody and angry Allah is, but if he's read the bible in its entirety, surely he'd realize that the Christian god is very similar. And when he talked about how some Christian tore apart the Qu'ran by exposing how it contradicted itself and science, I had to laugh. The bible doesn't fare any better to such scrutiny.

I was hoping that, as an atheist, I'd still be able to get something from this book instead of being preached to, but in the end, I really didn't.
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LibraryThing member Savagemalloy
A bit too much Christian propaganda
LibraryThing member cbilbo

At first I was angered by this book. I almost didn't finish it. I'm glad I did. My heart goes out to this man. He say the error of his ways, changed his beliefs, is trying to make a difference in his life. He only knew what he was brought up to believe. However, he learned the word of God and
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changed. Great book to read. Just don't give up on it, we'll worth it!
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LibraryThing member fortheloveofreading
Fascinating account of the history leading up to the recent developments in the middle east (Israel and Palestinian conflict). Book on CD version was excellent.
LibraryThing member cbilbo

At first I was angered by this book. I almost didn't finish it. I'm glad I did. My heart goes out to this man. He say the error of his ways, changed his beliefs, is trying to make a difference in his life. He only knew what he was brought up to believe. However, he learned the word of God and
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changed. Great book to read. Just don't give up on it, we'll worth it!
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LibraryThing member leandrod
A few inaccuracies — the most glaring one being that Israel did not outnumber & outgun Arabs during its Independence war, but outsmarted everyone else –, but a remarkable story, just barely believable due to being practically miraculous.
LibraryThing member drardavis
09/11/14 Son of Hamas, Mosab Hassan Yousef, 2011. This is not literature, but the story is amazing! More than anything, I learned that the violence coming from the Middle East is not monolithic, it is a pure chaos of faction against faction and ultimately against us. As I have stated in my own, The
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Fifth Prophet, “religion is fundamentally evil, and God does not approve.” Yousef says, “our enemies are ideas.” He has found a solution that works for him and I wish him well; he is a brave man. Unfortunately, I don’t see much hope for the rest of us in this book.
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LibraryThing member sparkleandchico
I have now read this book twice. This is the updated version with additional content at the end. It is a similar book to Once an Arafat Man although I had serious concerns about some of the content of the latter.

Son of Hamas gives itself away in the title. It is the true story of the son of one of
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the main leaders of Hamas, a terrorist group in Palestine. The author relates his childhood years--growing up surrounded by violence and war. He also documents his own activities as a teenager. Somehow (and this is the part I found difficult to grasp) he ends up being recruited as a spy for Shin Bet, an Israeli group. He then spends the next decade in that role effectively acting as a traitor to his family and his own people before seeking asylum in America...

Despite being the son of a Hamas leader, the author seems to be biased against Hamas from an early age. He documents a lot of violent incidents resulting in deaths and they always seem to be instigated by Hamas or triggered by something Hamas does. In contrast, Israel are represented as the "good guys" in the whole situation rarely taking advantage or killing when they have opportunities. I'm just not sure I can believe that this is how things actually were.

The author becomes a Christian which may or may not have influenced his decision to join Shin Bet. He is a little vague about this aspect and embraces Islam and Christianity simultaneously for a while before deciding which he believes is true. He remains non-denominational which is fine. But he places a stronger emphasis on this than I felt was necessary as if he is in a special category of Christians all by himself.

That was probably the thing I struggled with the most in this book. The way the author elevates himself and his role as a spy. He constantly talks about the number of lives he saved and seems to be present at every major event and incident throughout the history of the middle east conflict. Again, that seems highly unlikely as surely Shin Bet had other spies!?

Having said all that, this is a good read. The writing is not spectacular but the story is interesting and enough of it is factual to make the historical background worth reading. I think maybe the author has just exaggerated his role or used creative licence or maybe he had a different agenda. I would like to believe his conversion was genuine and lasted. I know there are some who believe his conversion was all to do with his asylum claim but I don't subscribe to just wouldn't be worth the risk and the loss of his family and friends in Palestine...

There is no bad language or sexual content. There is violence and some descriptions of torture but it is bearable. You may enjoy this book if you have an interest in the ongoing conflict in the middle east.
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LibraryThing member danoomistmatiste
One of the best reads this year. After reading this, I feel there is still hope for peace in the Middle East. The sad part is, Mosab had to go through so much misery before he attained that level of self-realization and moved up the ladder to the next rung onto the next higher plane of thinking and
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hence the right path. A few more Mosabs and Middle-East peace is virtually guaranteed.
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LibraryThing member pageflipper84
When they say a gripping account they really mean it! I loved every bit of this book! Very well written and historically accurate... I actually read this book while at the hospital awaiting for my second son to be born! I didn't want to put it down until my son crowned lol. Then of coarse I had to
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sob the good fatherly and husband thing but I was right back at it while my wife and newborn were asleep. I actually finished the book that night! The story was a shocker. From the way he portrayed his childhood to what he had to go through in the Middle East as an adult. Definitely an eye opener. Will recommend this book to everyone!
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LibraryThing member LynnB
This is a true story of a Palestinian boy whose father was one of the founders of Hamas. As a young man, he becomes disillusioned by the violence he sees Hamas perpetrating on other Palestinians. He also is introduced to Christianity and Jesus's message of Love Thy Neighbour resonates strongly with
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him. The book tells of the author's time as a spy for the Israeli government. It is a gripping, fascinating story. As the focus is the harm Hamas did in the West Bank, it doesn't provide a picture of the actions Israel has taken, and continues to take, in the region, such as restrictions of movement, large-scale Jewish settlements beyond the 1967 state borders, etc. None of which detracts from Hamas's actions, and the right of Israel to defend itself is necessary for its survival. I just would have appreciated a bit more context to the story.
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LibraryThing member evatkaplan
Autobiography of the son of Hamas leader who became a spy for Israel.


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