Tag Archives: middle east

Book Review:: Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef

19 Aug

Intense, fascinating, and intriguing, Son of Hamas is the true account of author Mosab Hassan Yousef’s life as the eldest son of one of Hamas’ founding members, Sheihk Hassan Yousef.  Mosab offers readers an inside look at one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist organizations and explains why Israelis and Palestinians continue to fight one another.  Not only that, in the middle of working with Israel against Hamas, Mosab becomes a Christian.  It is a tale so twisted that it must be true.

Starting with his childhood, Mosab outlines his upbringing as a good Muslim and speaks of his father as a loving man, who becoming disgusted with the secular Muslims, joined with like-minded individuals to form Hamas.  However, despite its humble beginnings as an organization that sought to encourages others to embrace the values and traditions of Islam, Hamas grew into a one of the largest terrorist networks in the world.  Its main goals are to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and reclaim the land given to Israel in 1948.

Disillusioned by the blood shed by both sides,  Mosab collaborates with Israel’s Shin Bet (one of the country’s spy agencies) to destroy Hamas from the inside, hoping to alleviate the suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis.  This book is a chilling account of his undercover work as a spy, the inner workings of Hamas, and what it is liked to be locked in a Middle Eastern prison.  Eventually, Mosab doesn’t know who to trust, who to believe, and what to make of this God-man called Jesus.  However, the more he reads the Bible, the more he realizes that loving one’s enemy is the true path to personal peace and peace in the Middle East.

While the names and dates can be a bit dizzying at times (thank goodness for the glossary and time line provided in the back of the book), Son of Hamas is a terribly interesting book, especially for those who want to know what is at the heart of tensions between Israel and Palestine.  Mosab clearly did his homework when putting together the history of the conflict.  Instead of being pro-Palestine or pro-Israel, Mosab manages to present the ideologies of both sides.  He then asks the reader if these are ideologies worth killing over.  This book isn’t an easy read, but Son of Hamas has expanded my understanding of conflict in the Middle East and taught me a lot about Islamic beliefs and practices.  If you want to learn why suicide bombers are so willing to blow themselves and others up, if you wonder why everyone can’t just get along, or if you just want to read a great story, check out Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yosef.

Amy’s Rating: B

*Thanks to Adam at Tyndale House Publishers for my review copy of this book!  He’s very cool.  You should follow him on Twitter.*

Book Review:: Tea with Hezbollah by Ted Dekker & Carl Medearis

29 Jan

I always thought sitting down with chocolate chip cookies and a cold glass of milk was key to peace in the Middle East—if only we could all agree to sit down together. That’s what Carl Medearis suggested to novelist Ted Dekker one evening over dinner—only the pair would drink tea, a popular drink in the region, with the likes of Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Samaritans.

Tea with Hezbollah by Dekker and Medearis is the travelogue of the duo’s adventure into Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Israel to meet with some of the most dangerous key players on opposite sides of the Middle East conflict. The result is a fascinating book, which culminates with a visit to the 700 remaining Samaritans who occupy an area just outside Tel Aviv. Written primarily by Dekker, the book is a fascinating look into the world of Arabs, Christians, and Jews who are confronted with Jesus’ second greatest commandment—to love one’s neighbor. Dekker also weaves together the story of a girl named Nicole, an American who seeks to find her roots in the ghetto of Beirut.

Through Medearis’ extensive contacts g in the Middle East region, Dekker and Medearis are able to meet with everyone from Osama Bin Laden’s brothers, who think Osama is a jerk, to Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, known to Westerners as the political voice for Hezbollah. To me,  the most interesting parts of the book were not the interviews with Hamas leaders or sheiks, but the thoughts of every day people such as the scholarly Dr. Micah and Sami Awad, a Christian living in Bethlehem (not Pennslyvania—the one where Jesus was born) who embraces non-violent beliefs.

When I say Tea with Hezbollah is a must-read, I’m not mincing my words. To truly understand what Arabs think about Americans and their neighbors, you must read this book. Plus, you will also gain a sense of the “humanity” of our “enemies.” Ted Dekker’s true story of his journey in the Middle East with buddy Carl Medearis rivals the suspense found in any of his novels.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Because of the fine folks at WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, one lucky reader can win a copy of TEA WITH HEZBOLLAH for free. Simply tell me your favorite kind of tea (if you don’t like tea, pick a favorite drink) when you reply below. Easy as pie and just as tasty. The contest will end on Feb. 5 at 12 PM EST. You can also e-mail your entry to amy@backseatwriter.com or reply via Twitter or Facebook.  Don’t forget to leave a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win…and don’t worry, I won’t share it with anyone!

Congrats to Donna S. for winning TEA WITH HEZBOLLAH! 🙂

**Don’t forget to enter BSW’s OWOH giveaway here!**

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