If you are a Palestinian child, born on the West Bank – you fight. However, in Mosab Hassan Yousef’s case, as he puts it, “Allah had other plans for me.” Ironically, (and fortunately) the path he was later set on, was one of peace and forgiveness.
When Yousef was growing up, he wanted to join the family business. Sadly, as it is all too common for this region of the world, the family business was death. His father was Sheikh Hassan Yousef – leader and one of the founding members of Hamas. As the eldest son, he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps one day and take the reigns of one of the most violent organizations in history. But then something miraculous happened. By chance, (or fate) he met a tourist in Jerusalem who gave him a bible to read. At this time, Yousef could not speak English, so, with his translation dictionary in hand, he meticulously deciphered this “infidel book,” and when he read Christ’s message to love your enemy, he cried all night. Something deep shifted inside him, shaking the very core of his beliefs. It was this simple message of love that was to shape the rest of his life and guide him on a new mission – for truth.
As Mosab read on, he started to see with different eyes, and doubts about Islam and Hamas began knocking at the back door of his conscience – then they started pounding. He began to see illusion all around him, which would later lead to disillusion. Hamas' brutality, which until then remained in his periphery, was now staring him straight in the face. He could no longer dismiss or deny the practices of Hamas he witnessed, first hand. He began to seethe and hate how Hamas used the lives of suffering civilians and children to achieve their goals. Not able to live with Hamas’ mission, nor himself anymore, he took a leap of faith, right over the border and into the arms of his sworn enemy – the Israeli Shin Bet. It was then that the Shin Bet, (the FBI equivalent in Israel) asked Yousef to thwart terror plots by doing the unthinkable – to become a spy and betray his nation, religion and family. However, at this time, what was most unthinkable for Yousef, was continuing to wade through the innocent bloodshed that he knew he could prevent. So, his career as an Israeli operative began, and the Green Prince was born.
In an incredible twist of fate, Mosab’s Shin Bet handler was actually the son of the General in charge of Israel’s armed forces. Like some kind of karmic Grisham novel, Yousef found himself between the leader of Hamas, and the leader of the Israeli army, being pulled in two directions, but ultimately, only devoted to one. For ten years, Yousef played this dangerous game, yet he found strength, and felt secure, with the backing of his new found faith. He became Shin Bet's most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname the "Green Prince" – using the color of the Islamist group's flag, and "prince" because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement's founders. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of Hamas cells as well as the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.
Now living in the United States, (with a fatwa on his head) Yousef speaks to audiences, exposing the Hamas organization, from the inside. Audiences are often surprised by the level of honesty and frankness in his talks, as well as his willingness to engage in a no-holds-barred exchange of Q & A after each presentation, knowing the unimaginable burden he faces by pulling back the curtain of Hamas and sharing its secrets. Citing experiences and events witnessed in his own life, Yousef examines the path that so many young men and women have taken, from recruitment, to their first act of terror, and how these souls are so easily and readily coerced into blindly following the wishes of the elders to their own death by their own hand, in his bestselling book, The Son of Hamas, and in the film The Green Prince, directed by award-winning filmmaker, Nadav Schirman.
Religious whistleblowers in the Arab world usually don’t live to tell tale, and with the current escalation of violence in the Middle East by groups like ISIS and the Khorasan Group, Yousef’s message has never been so critical to the understanding of Islamic ideologies, and to have any hope for achieving peace for the region, and subsequently, most of the world. Mosab Hassan Yousef is a powerful speaker who reveals the truth behind terrorism, without pulling any punches. Before signing with APB to represent him, Yousef toured the world speaking at events and venues where it was a miracle just to get a ticket. He now speaks to colleges, religious groups and any organization wishing to know what the future holds for students entering into the world, businesses wanting to know how continued global violence and instability will affect them, as well as any group that needs to know if there is hope for peace. Audiences are consistently both shocked by his honesty and courage, while also finally feeling some hope about the end to this conflict, perhaps for the first time. For if a former prince of terror can find his way out of the dark, perhaps his nation can too.