Yesterday our church hosted Mossaab Hassan Yousef. He spoke at all three of our Sunday morning services and for an hour at our evening service. You may log in (or register) and watch the archived television broadcast here.
Mossab Hassan Yousef is the son of the only surviving founding council member of Hamas, the largest terrorist organization in the world. When Mossab Hassan turned eighteen, he was arrested and tortured by the Israelis. It was during his two years in prison that followed, that Mossab Hassan began to question his involvement as a leader in the Hamas Youth Movement and the expectations of others that he would eventually take over leadership of Hamas. What really jolted him was seeing Hamas torturing their own Hamas brethren while in prison. Everyone seemed so filled with hate for one another. After his release from prison he would eventually spend months studying the Bible after being introduced by a simple taxi cab driver in Jerusalem to the words of Jesus "Love your enemies."
Mossab Hassan Yousef eventually trusted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Three years ago, this "son of Hamas" was able to enter the United States and is currently applying for political asylum. I first heard his story in a Fox Television investigative report which aired last January and blogged about it then. We arranged for Mossab Hassan to speak at Emmanuel yesterday and we all profited by what he had to say.
One of the more startling things about this refreshingly honest and humble evangelical follower of Jesus Christ is his denunciation of Islamic idealogy. He loves Muslims, but he despises Islamic teaching. He says anyone who can read the Koran, and chooses to believe it, is sick and needs help. The Koran teaches the ideaology of hate and violence. Any logical, rational person who simply compares the teachings of the Koran and the teaching of Jesus Christ would see the radical ideological differences. But therein lies the problem.
Mossab Hassan points out that there are 1.5 billion Muslims. Only 300 million of them speak Arabic, but it is street Arabic and not the "high" Arabic of the Koran. Muslims don't even know what the Koran teaches, so they have to read hundreds of books or listen to dozens of Islamic teachers who will tell them, often incorrectly, what the Koran teaches. Mossab Hassan wants the Koran translated into the common languages of mankind so that people can read it and understand it. He says Muslims are deceived. They are trapped in an ideology of hate, and the only way to provide them solutions for their problems is to show them another way to live--and that is through the ideology of "love"--which provides a solution for every problem, even those caused by your enemies.
It is Mossab Hassans desire to one day return to his homeland to help lead his family and people to faith in Jesus Christ. His father remains in prison in Israel, and his own brothers are arguing with him about the Bible and who Jesus is. But at least, says Mossab Hassan, they are discussing the issues. Jesus Christ is Almighty God, and His teachings are far superior to any of mans' religions. Mossab Hassan is a "Jesus follower" and he firmly believes the only way for the problems in the Middle East to be solved is for others, by the millions, to become Jesus followers. It was refreshing to hear the story of conversion from a man who has given up so much, in terms of the world, to follow after Jesus.
I also couldn't help but think about how hard it seems to be for Christians in the west to "love our enemies." We have a hard time loving our Christian brothers. Could it be that many of us in the west treat Christianity as Muslims treat Islam? Could it be that we are more interested in maintaining our "religious" institutions than we are in our strengthening our relationship with the One who transforms our hearts into being able to "love our enemies"?
In His Grace,