An Incredible Conversion

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
Mosab Hassan Yousef - Hamas Son.jpg
 
Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a Hamas leader
 
 
I don’t know if you have heard about the conversion of Mosab Hassan Yousef from Islam to Christianity; but this is no ordinary conversion. Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of the most influential leaders of the militant Hamas group in the West Bank.
 
 
Sheikh Hassan Yousef.jpg
 
Sheikh Hassan Yousef is in the middle
 
 
In a Fox News exclusive interview with Jonathan Hunt, Yousef shares how he came to faith in Christ and also shares some of his views on Islam and Hamas. Here are some excerpts:
 

JONATHAN HUNT: You speak from a unique perspective, a man who grew up not just in an Islamic family but as part of an organization seen by many people around the world as an extreme force in Islam: Hamas. What is the reality of Islam? You say people don’t see the reality; What is the reality of Islam?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF: There are two facts that Muslims don’t understand … I’d say about more than 95 percent of Muslims don’t understand their own religion. It came with a much stronger language than the language that they speak so they don’t understand it … they rely only on religious people to get their knowledge about this religion.

Second, they don’t understand anything about other religions. Christian communities live between Muslims and they’re minority and they (would) rather not to go speak out and tell people about Jesus because it’s dangerous for them.

So, all their ideas about other religions on earth are from Islamic perspectives. So those two realities, most people don’t understand.

If people, if Muslims, start to understand their religion – first of all, their religion – and see how awful stuff is in there, they’ll start to figure out, this can’t (be) … because most religious people focus on certain points of Islam. They have many points that they are very embarrassed to talk about.

JONATHAN HUNT: What specific event or events began to change your mind about Islam?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF:
Since I was a child I started to ask very difficult questions, even my family was telling me all the time, ‘You’re a very difficult person and we were having trouble answering your questions. Why are you asking so many questions?’ This was from the beginning, to be honest with you.

But I felt that everybody – and my father was a good example for me because he was a very honest, humble person, very nice to my mother, to us, and raised us on the principle of forgiveness, okay? I thought that everybody in Islam was like this.

When I was 18 years old, and I was arrested by the Israelis and was in an Israeli jail under the Israeli administration, Hamas had control of its members inside the jail and I saw their torture; (they were) torturing people in a very, very bad way.

JONATHAN HUNT: You talk about the good Muslims, like your father, yet you still now renounce the faith of your father. Could you have not been a good Muslim?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF:
Now, here’s the reality: after I studied Christianity – which I had a big misunderstanding about, because I studied about Christianity from Islam, which is, there is nothing true about Christianity when you study it from Islam, and that was the only source.

When I studied the Bible carefully verse by verse, I made sure that that was the book of God, the word of God for sure, so I started to see things in a different way, which was difficult for me, to say Islam is wrong.

Islam is my father. I grew up for (one) father – 22 years for that father – and another father came to me and told me, ‘I’m sorry, I’m your father.’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about? Like, I have my own father, and it’s Islam!’ And the father of Christianity told me, ‘No, I’m your father. I was in jail, and this (Islam) is not your father.’

So basically this is what happened. It’s not easy to believe this (Islam) is not your father anymore. So I had to study Islam again from a different point of view to figure out all the mistakes, the huge mistakes and its effects, not only on Muslims – (of) which I hated the values … I didn’t like all those traditions that make people’s lives more difficult – but its effects also on humanity. On humanity! People killing each other (in) the name of God.

So definitely I started to figure out the problem is Islam, not the Muslims and those people – I can’t hate them because God loved them from the beginning. And God doesn’t create junk. God created good people that he loved, but they’re sick, they have the wrong idea. I don’t hate those people anymore but I feel very sorry for them and the only way for them to be changed (is) by knowing the word of God and the real way to him.

JONATHAN HUNT: Does it worry you that in saying these things – and given your background and your words carrying extra weight – there is a danger that you will increase the difficulties, the hatred between Christians and Muslims in the world right now?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF:
This could happen if a Christian person will go talk to them about the reality of Islam. They put Christians on the enemy list anyway, before you talk to them about Islam. So if you go to them and tell them, as a Christian, they will be offended immediately and they will hate you and this will definitely increase the vacuum between both religions – but what made someone like me change?

Years ago, years ago, when I was there, God opened my eyes, my mind also, and I became a completely different person. So now, I can do this duty, while you as Christians can help me do it, but maybe you wouldn’t be able to. (Muslims) have no excuse now.

JONATHAN HUNT: How difficult a process has this been for you to effectively walk away from your family, leave your home behind? How difficult is that?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF:
Taking your skin off your bones, that’s what happened. I love my family, they love me. And my little brothers, they’re like my sons. I raised them. Basically, it was the biggest decision in my life.

I left everything behind me, not only family. When you decide to convert to Christianity or any other religion from Islam, it’s not (enough) to just say goodbye and leave, you know? It’s not like that. You’re saying goodbye to culture, civilization, traditions, society, family, religion, God — what you thought was God for so many years! So it’s not easy. It’s very complicated. People think it’s that easy, like it doesn’t matter. Now I’m here in the U.S. and I got my freedom and it’s great, but at the same time, nothing is like family, you know. To lose your family —

JONATHAN HUNT: Have you lost your family?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF: My family is educated and it was very difficult for them. They asked me many times, especially for the first two days, to keep my faith to myself and not go to the media and announce it.

But for me it was a duty from God to announce his name and praise him (around) the world because my reward is going to be that he’s going to do the same for me. So I did it, basically, as a duty. I (wonder) how many people can do what I can do today? I didn’t find any.

So, I had to be strong about that. That was very challenging. That was the most difficult decision in my life and I didn’t do it for fun. I didn’t do it for anything from this world. I did it only for one reason: I believed in it. People are suffering every day because of wrong ideas. I can help them get out of this endless circle … the track the devil (laid) for them.

JONATHAN HUNT:
Aren’t you terrified that somebody is going to try to kill you for saying these things — which would be approved of according to parts of the Koran?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF: They got to kill my ideas first, (and) that’s it, they’re already out. So how are they going to kill my idea? How are they going to kill the opinions that I have? … They can kill my body, but they can’t kill my soul.

JONATHAN HUNT: You’re not afraid?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF:
As a human, you know, I can be very brave now, I’m not thinking about it at this moment and I feel that God is on my side. But if this will be the challenge, I ask God to give me enough strength.

I’ve been a Christian for a long time before they knew, or anyone knew. I love Jesus, I followed him for many years now. It wasn’t a secret for most of the time, and this time I just did it to glorify the name of God and praise him.

They’re not dealing with a regular Muslim. They know that I’m educated, they know that I studied, they know that I studied Islam and Christianity. When I made my decision, I didn’t make it because someone did magic on me or convinced me. It was completely my decision.

JONATHAN HUNT:
What is your basic message to any Muslim listening to this right now?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF:
My message to them is, first of all, to open their minds. They were born to Muslim families – this is how they got Islam and this is just like … any other religion, like growing up (in) a Christian family, or growing up (in) a Jewish family.

So my point is that I want those people to open their eyes, their minds, to start to understand and imagine that they weren’t born for a Muslim family. And use their minds.

Why did God give them minds? Open their hearts. Read the Bible. Study their religion. I want to open the gate for them, I want them to be free. They will find a good life on earth just by following God – and they’re also going to guarantee the other life.

 
 
Hopefully, just like the Apostle Paul, who miraculously converted to Christ, Yousef can channel all of his energies towards proclaiming the truth about Christ. Indeed, once we know the truth, the truth will set us free (Jn 8:32).

You can read the story the whole interview of Mosab Hassan Yousef here.

You can also see an exclusive Fox News video here.

Heading Out to Chicago – August 2008

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

This morning, the family and I are driving out to Chicago to spend some time with our extended family before all the craziness of a new season of ministry starts.

We will also spend a few days out in Atlanta with Pastor Matt and the JCA family. They have been so gracious and generous to invite us and host me and my family for a few days.

I am praying that this week will be fruitful with family and friends.

Chinky-Eyed Mistake

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

Praise God for the Olympics. There are so many illustrations to choose from, it is truly a preacher’s banquet to feast upon.
 
 
Spain's B-Ball Team and Slanty Eyes.jpg
 
 
 
If you look at this picture carefully, you will realize that the Spain’s Olympic basketball team is posing by making slit-eyes with their fingers. Wow! And this is the year 2008.

Obviously, this has upset the Chinese host in Beijing, but more than that it has offended a lot of Asian people. This picture, along with the women’s basketball team (making the same gestures) were in the full page sports section of Spain’s best-selling newspaper.

In the Guardian newspaper’s report, it states, “No one involved in the advert appears to have considered it inappropriate nor contemplated the manner in which it could be interpreted in China and elsewhere. No offence was intended by the advert, but whether the Chinese see it that way is a different matter and it is likely to provoke more criticism at a delicate time for Spanish sport. The failure to recognise [sic] the potential consequences is striking in the light of the problems Spain has had with issues of race and the Spanish Olympic committee’s continued desire to host the Games in Madrid in 2016 or 2020.”

Wait a minute.

Of course those involved in the advertisement didn’t “considered it inappropriate nor contemplated the manner in which it could be interpreted in China and elsewhere.” The reason is because they are focused on themselves and did not consider what an Asian person would have felt if they saw the picture.

This is the problem with race relations and even prejudice. A lot of times, we are not able to see beyond our own culture and our own comforts. This is why at HMCC, we are trying to teach the principle of “transculturalism.” Being transcultural simply means that it is “a decision to go through discomforts and difficulties in order to develop understanding and delight in people from a different culture.” It is not just a race issue but it even goes down to things like differences in personality and preferences. It is really learning how to think ourselves less and love people more.

Only a true understanding of the Gospel can bring this kind of transformation of the heart.