Friday, January 02, 2009
As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other world leaders try to broker a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas, one former member of the militant Islamic organization said there will never be lasting peace between the two groups.
"There is no chance. Is there any chance for fire to co-exist with the water?" said Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of one of the group's founding members.
Yousef added: "It's not about Israel, it's not about Hamas: it's about both ideologies."
Yousef, son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of the most influential leaders of the militant group, said the organization betrays the Palestinian cause and tortures its own members.
Hamas, formed in the late 1980's as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, is considered a terror organization by the U.S. government. Hamas seized power in the Gaza strip in 2007 in a violent coup against the more moderate Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas.
Yousef said he was indoctrinated at an early age to use violence to challenge Israeli control in the region. As a teenager he moved up within the organization and became the leader of the radical Islamic Youth Movement that fought Israeli tanks and troops in the streets, celebrated suicide bombings and recruited young men to the cause.
Yousef, 30, said he realized the true nature of Hamas and radical Islam during a stint in an Israeli prison. He renounced his Muslim faith, left his family behind in Ramallah and converted to Christianity.
"Islam is not the word of God," said Yousef. "If you want to be offended it's your problem. But you know something? Go study. Think for a second that I might be right. So wake up, look at your path, see where you're going. Are you really going to heaven with 72 virgins after you kill yourself and kill another 20 people?"
Yousef has sought asylum in the United States and now attends an evangelical Christian church in San Diego, Calif.
"The Hamas leadership, including my father, they're responsible; they're responsible for all the violence that happened from the organization. I know they describe it as reaction to Israeli aggression, but still, they are part of it and they had to make decisions in those operations against Israel (for) which there was the killing of many civilians."
Yousef talks more about his extraordinary story of faith, courage, violence and betrayal in a FOX News documentary, "Escape From Hamas," hosted by Bill Hemmer.
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