Breaking news. I found time to read a book. Second, I finished it in three days. Third, it was a memoir about terrorism, Islam, and Jesus.
Did I throw you for a loop? Sorry – no talk of parenting and kid food and toddlerisms today. I’m a little too ramped up.
I don’t normally get so involved in what I’m reading, but Son of Hamas has woken up something in my life that feels like it’s been sleeping a little too long into the morning. It reminded me that God’s word is living and active. That it has the power to change the course of history. That one man inviting another to a bible study in the dusty streets of Isreal can, literally, save the lives of thousands.
These are strong words, but author Mosab Hassan Yousef thoroughly backs them up with account after account of how his life changed from reading a New Testament and ultimately coming to know God the Creator.
The cover proclaims Son of Hamas a “gripping account of terror, betrayal, political intrigue, and unthinkable choices.” It certainly is that, but there’s another side to the story I wasn’t expecting. Son of Hamas exposes not only the beating heart of a much-feared organization – it exposes the truth about the Isreali-Palestinian conflict. The author realizes firsthand that peace will not come through talks and diplomats and warheads and borders.
Peace will only come through Jesus.
I know. I’m a Christian, and even I think that sounds a little trite. But Yousef made sense. If Hamas did not have Isreal to fight, they would find someone, or something else to be angry at. Someone would be wearing the wrong head scarf. There would be a bad price at the market. The root of their problem was self-righteous anger, anger that they believed Islam supported – by all measures and costs.
In a neighborhood bible study, Yousef details the first time he realized that the cure for anger could be found in the teachings of Jesus. Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:44-45).
Yousef references this verse after he returns to prison for the second time, noticing with shock that since reading Jesus’ teachings in Matthew, he no longer harbored anger at his captors. As the book progresses, readers see the author basing more and more of his decisions on what he’s read in the Bible instead of the teachings of Islam, and how God blesses him for it.
I’m not a political junkie, but as the book progressed past its slower, historical background beginning, even I started to recognize names and events. However, what I recognized even more was the quiet yearning that stood off the page as Yousef realized how much his life was changing simply by reading a New Testament.
As a whole, the book read more like non-fiction than memoir (a fact that I attribute to knowing that English was not the author’s first language) but still kept me turning pages past eleven o’clock, which is a pretty big deal in my world. AND, it’s now a documentary called The Green Prince. Intrigued? You should be. The trailer for this movie was what sparked me to read the book in the first place.
Now it’s your turn! Do you need something new to usher in your fall book-reading season? My giveaway for Son of Hamas starts today and ends Sunday. Follow the link below to enter the drawing! (And keep your fingers crossed that I figure out how to use Rafflecopter.)
Son of Hamas Rafflecopter giveaway
Son of Hamas was provided to me for review by Tyndale House Publishers as part of their blogger network.