Former Hamas man to ‘tell truth’ about Muhammad

Mosab Hassan Yousef making film highlighting prophet’s penchant for "violence."

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Ramallah-born Mosab Hassan Yousef has made enough enemies in the Palestinian territories to last a lifetime. The eldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of the founders of Hamas, spent his early years as a Hamas activist and went through more than a few stints in Israeli prison.
But for ten years, Yousef was “the Green Prince,” a code name given to him by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), with whom he worked to prevent dozens of terrorist attacks during the second intifada, saving hundreds of Israeli lives.
Two years ago, Yousef – who now lives in the US – published the book Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue and Unthinkable Choices, in which he detailed his disillusionment with the violence inside Hamas and his decision to assist Israel from around 1996 to 2006.
Now 34, Yousef is a devout Christian who is open about his faith as well as his pessimism for the future of peace in the Middle East.
“This is not a time to surrender, this is a time to inspire the new generation,” said Yousef during a press conference on Tuesday organized by Media- Central. “I understand shame and sensitivity. The most shameful thing was to work for Israel, and I did it voluntarily, because I wanted to set an example that we must fight for freedom.”
The guiding principal throughout his tumultuous tenure, Yousef said, was his dedication to saving lives.
“Nobody knew of my existence, the only light I had in my life was, ‘how can I go wrong by saving a human life?’” said Yousef. “Yes, there are lots of politics involved and lots of national agendas and it was a very complicated situation, but it was about saving human beings. I had to trade culture, religion and identity – all this for the sake of humanity.”
“If I did something wrong in the eyes of many ignorant people, I am okay with that, and I hope one day they will be able to see this,” he added.
But Yousef, whose family disowned him, was not cowed by the enemies he created during his public revelation of his years as a Shin Bet double agent. Now, he is taking on an even bigger challenge: a movie depicting the life of Muhammad, Islam’s holiest prophet.
“Muslims don’t understand the real nature of Islam,” said Yousef, who said it is a fanatical religion that favors war over peace. He cited the Arab Spring’s failure to create meaningful change and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as proof that Islam is propelling Arab states backward rather than forward.
Yousef noted that he has the authority to criticize Islam because he comes from an Islamic background. He said he wants the world to know about what he says is “the truth” about Muhammad, Islam’s holiest prophet: that he glorified and encouraged murder as a form of worship, married a 9- year-old bride and valued violence.
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.
Depictions of Muhammad are forbidden according to Islamic tradition. The famous Danish cartoons of the prophet published in 2005 prompted riots across the Arab world in which more than 200 people were killed. The newspaper and the cartoonist also received multiple death threats.
But Yousef and Feuer insisted they are not frightened by the possibility of violence surrounding the film. Yousef frequently brushed off questions about his personal safety, especially in light of his decision to visit Israel as a guest of Likud MK Ayoub Kara. “I feel very safe,” he said repeatedly.
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.
Yousef added that he wants to free the world of “the absolute power of all religions,” starting with Islam. “It is time to bring Allah to the table and see [Islam] for what it is,” he said.