In March of this year, Tyndale House published Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices by Mosab Hassan Yousef. In the book, Yousef, a son of one of Hamas's founding members, reveals how he turned away from his family and homeland, converted from Islam to Christianity, and now believes that the Christian mandate to "love your enemies" is the only way to peace in the Middle East. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security prosecuted Yousef before a federal immigration judge in San Diego, claiming Yousef was a terrorist and seeking to deny his request for political asylum. But yesterday, a judge granted Yousef asylum.
Homeland Security made its claim based on Yousef's admission in his book that he aided and abetted Hamas in his role as double agent for the Shin Bet, Israel’s version of the FBI. Yousef's literary agent, Richard "Bucky" P. Rosenbaum, Jr., told PW, "Had they read the rest of the book, they would realize that [Yousef] saved thousands of lives--including U.S. citizens--during his nine years as an undercover agent for the Israelis." Yousef became a spy for the Israeli government in the late 1990s and reportedly stopped several terrorist attacks from taking place.
Nancy Clausen, director of marketing and product development at Tyndale, said the publisher had already gone back to press on Son of Hamas "a number of times" before Wednesday's news and has 110,000 copies of the book, a $26.99 hardcover, in the marketplace. She expects increased interest now. "We did try to prepare the retailers ahead of time that this news was coming," Clausen said, although she noted, "It was a surprise to everybody in the court today that Homeland Security chose to not oppose the asylum. A very happy surprise." A number of parties, including Tyndale, had lined up in support of Yousef.
Yousef's Shin Bet "handler" (known in the book as “Captain Loai”) came to the U.S. last week from Israel to appear with Yousef before several members of Congress. While here, he decided to reveal his identity (his real name is Gonen Ben-Itzhak). Both Yousef and Ben-Itzhak spoke at the International Christian Retail Show, which took place in St. Louis last weekend.
Earlier this week, Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO) sent a letter to DHS protesting its decision to opposeYousef ’s application for political asylum. Twenty-one other members of Congress signed the letter. The Israeli Knesset also sent a letter, affirming that Yousef is a "friend of Israel" and not a terrorist, as did former CIA director James Woolsey.