JERUSALEM – The son of one of the most popular leaders in the Hamas terrorist organization has moved to the U.S. and converted to Christianity, it has emerged.
In an exclusive interview with Israel's Haaretz newspaper, Masab Yousuf, son of West Bank Hamas leader Sheik Hassan Yousef, slammed Hamas, praised Israel and said he hoped his terrorist father will open his eyes to Jesus and to Christianity.
"I know that I'm endangering my life and am even liable to lose my father, but I hope that he'll understand this and that God will give him and my family patience and willingness to open their eyes to Jesus and to Christianity. Maybe one day I'll be able to return to Palestine and to Ramallah with Jesus, in the Kingdom of God," Masab said.
Masab said he previously aided his father with Hamas activities, but he now has affection for Israel and laments Hamas.
"Send regards to Israel, I miss it. I respect Israel and admire it as a country," he says.
"You Jews should be aware: You will never, but never have peace with Hamas. Islam, as the ideology that guides them, will not allow them to achieve a peace agreement with the Jews. They believe that tradition says that the Prophet Muhammed fought against the Jews and that therefore they must continue to fight them to the death."
Masab slammed Palestinian society as "an entire society [that] sanctifies death and the suicide terrorists. In Palestinian culture a suicide terrorist becomes a hero, a martyr. Sheiks tell their students about the 'heroism of the shaheeds.'"
Masab's father is considered the most popular Hamas figure in the West Bank. He is serving a sentence in Israel for planning or involvement in multiple terror attacks, including an infamous 2002 suicide bombing in the school cafeteria of Jerusalem's Hebrew University in which nine students and staff members were killed.
In a statement to the Palestinian Maan news agency, Masab's brother, Suhaib, strongly denied that Masab converted to Christianity.
But Haaretz stood by its story. The newspaper said it sent a correspondent to the U.S., who met with Masab for a detailed, in-person interview.