Hamas leader’s son tells synagogue: ‘Islam is greatest threat to humanity’
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
A Hamas leader’s son has told a packed synagogue that the Muslim prophet Muhammad is a “terrorist” and that “peaceful Muslims misinterpret Islam”.
Mosab Hassan Yousef made the controversial comments while speaking to an audience at Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, in Norrice Lea, about his experiences of growing up in the West Bank as the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a top Hamas leader, before becoming a spy for Israel’s security service Shin Bet.
Security was stepped up for the visit of Mr Yousef, who was flown in from his home in the USA especially for the talk, with visitors required to show photo ID before entering the synagogue on Thursday last week.
In 2010, Mr Yousef published his autobiography, titled Son of Hamas, which revealed the story of how he became a Shin Bet spy after being arrested by Israeli forces, at the age of 17, over plans to attack Israeli targets.
He has since renounced his Muslim faith to become a Christian and received a standing ovation from synagogue members last week after he praised the “righteousness of the Jewish nation”.
During the talk, Mr Yousef told the synagogue audience: “Islamic ideology is the most dangerous thing humanity is facing. Islam is a problem. Look at how Muslims treat women, how Muslims treat animals. Look at Islamic sharia: if there is a thief they cut off his hands.
“Why do you think ISIS beheads people? They could shoot people but it’s inspired by Muhammad.
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“I believe Muhammad is a terrorist and the terrorists are just following in his footsteps. Peaceful Muslims misinterpret Islam.”
Mr Yousef was interviewed by Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society think tank, for the talk last week.
It was preceded by the screening of a trailer for The Green Prince, a film adaptation of Mr Yousef’s autobiography which premiered last year.
From the age of 10, Mr Yousef said he “hated everything Israeli” after his father was arrested and imprisoned by Israeli forces.
By the age of 17, he was preparing to enact his “revenge” on Israel, as part of the ongoing conflict between Palestinian and Israeli forces, but was arrested before managing to carry out an attack.
While in jail, he was contacted by Shin Bet agents and subsequently worked undercover for the security service between 1997 and 2007, helping to prevent dozens of suicide attacks and assassinations of Israelis, as well as exposing numerous Hamas cells.
Mr Yousef described his father as a “monster” and hit back at criticism of Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians.
He added: “Israel has the right to defend itself and sooner or later the world will come to realise this.”
A spokesman for Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue said: “The synagogue and the interviewer Dr Alan Mendoza do not share Mr Yousef’s views on Islam. We would like to distance ourselves from his comments about Islam and the prophet Muhammad.”