Sunday, May 15, 2011

Walid Shoebat vs. Mosab Hasan Yousef (Son of Hamas): Is it worth it?

As the 63rd anniversary of the birth of modern Israel was being celebrated yesterday (the Palestinians call it 'Nakba Day' or 'Catastrophe', another war of words seems to be going on between two former Muslims, now Christians. On the one side, you have Walid Shoebat, a self-avowed former PLO terrorist turned Christian, author, and self-avowed terrorism expert. On the other side, you have Mosab Hasan Yousef, the son of one of the seven founders of Hamas, former spy for Shin Bet (an Israeli intelligence service, and recent convert to Christianity. 
On May 5, Pajamas Media posted the following article by Walid Shoebat:

The Mosab Yousef Saga: Did Hamas ‘Defector’ Dupe All of Us?

Mosab did not convert to what the West would recognize as Christianity, but to a fiery, Palestinian brand of the faith that is vehemently anti-Israel. According to Mosab, his main goal in coming to the U.S. is to infiltrate the main source of international support for Israel: the American church. From an interview with Al-Arabiya:
During my tours in universities and even churches, [I found] the real support for Israel stems from the church in the West. … We need to understand the difference between “revenge” and “resistance” and once the Palestinians do, we will have our victory against Israel.
Now, it doesn't sound like Shoebat has read Yousef's book here. As well, Shoebat is calling Yousef a con artist in this article, ironic, since Shoebat has his own issues to deal with, which I shall present later. As it is, I'm not buying Shoebat's critique of Yousef for several reasons, the main being that Shoebat blames Yousef's view on a some Palestinian brand of Christianity, when Shoebat himself has bought into the Darby/Schofield/LaHaye/Late Great Planet Earth/Dispensationalist type of Christianity. He presents a Christian eschatology which has become popular in recent years to call Islam the great anti-Christ. He believes that our President, Barack Obama is a closet Muslim. In other words, Shoebat himself, is of a fiery brand of American Christianity, which puts patriotism first, labeling second, the Christianity somewhere follows.

On May 11, Yousef posted the following blog post, in which he answers the charges against him. He lays out his case pretty well, without overtly attacking Shoebat. Though, Yousef does post an email someone from Shoebat's foundation had sent him trying to get Yousef to join their organization. Yousef rightly declined. Yousef, of course, is in this position of being a former Muslim converted to Christianity and living in the West. The idea from most American Christians is once a Muslim becomes a Christian, they should change their name to a Western name and become fiercely pro-Israel, but as Yousef says:
4. I am not ashamed of my work with the Israeli Shin Bet, but my purpose has never been to promote Israeli’s political agendas. I love Israel as a nation and I love the Israeli people, but I also have problems with state policies. While I was a Shin Bet agent, I often disagreed with what they did and how they did it. It’s all in the book for anyone to read. It is very important that everyone understands that I am not political or ideological. I am neither pro-Israel nor pro-Palestinian. I love both. I loved my enemy and risked my life for them, but I do not and cannot hate my own people.
One thing that I do feel was unnecessary was the in between post by a former Shin Bet agent titled, "Shame on you, Walid Shoebat." While I do believe that there were other ways that Shoebat could've gone about confronting Yousef, if he thought Yousef was in error, this post was probably unnecessary. However, Yousef did post on May 14, the best post I've seen in this exchange. Shoebat himself responded to it, but in such a bad way, that one continues to wonder what Shoebat's motives in all of this are, other than continuing to try to discredit a brother in Christ. Basically, this post was an open letter to Shoebat written in a spirit of Christian love. Shoebat's response is in the comments and they are very sad to me.

There are some lessons to be learned from this exchange, I believe. Should this issue have been taken public? Shoebat claims to have sent someone to Yousef, to which Yousef denies. To be honest, that claim by Shoebat is dubious. This is not necessarily a church matter, so I'm not so sure that Matthew 18 applies here, but some application of it could have, I suppose. To support Israel at any cost vs. criticizing their policies seems to be the main issue here and should not be made a theological issue. Shoebat is usually seen on the talking circuit with Pamela Gellar and Robert Spencer, two people who's only aim is to spread fear and distrust of anyone who even looks like a Muslim.

Who to believe and trust in exchanges like this? We can only trust the truth. What is the truth? I'll let you decide, let me say this. Shoebat has too many holes in his stories to be fully trusted. The Israeli intelligence has stated that they have no record of Shoebat in their prisons as he has claimed. Also, Shoebat has claimed to be a PLO Islamic terrorist. The biggest problem with being a PLO Islamic terrorist is that the PLO was primarily a secular, atheist organization. They were primarily political and not Islamic. Sure, they may have recruited Muslims, obviously, but their aim was not an Islamic state. That is/was Hamas' aim, not the PLO's. Shoebat, Spencer, and Gellar all have their facts wrong and will continue to have their facts wrong.

As Christians, let's respond to each other in brotherly love and kindness. I'm currently reading through Yousef's book, "Son of Hamas" and am almost done. It is quite a fascinating read. I am encouraged by his conversion to Christianity and his non-violent stance in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Let's continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are still living over there in the Middle East and continue to suffer both at the hands of the Israelis and the hands of the Muslims.