In 1978, Mosab Hassan Yousef was born to the son of one of Hamas'* seven original founders, Sheikh Hassan Yousef. Growing up, Yousef was raised on radical Islamic values and it seemed almost certain that he would follow in his father's footsteps and proudly become a terrorist.
But sometimes the apple really does fall far from the tree.
As the years went by, Yousef began questioning the ideology that his father and members of Hamas lived by and eventually decided terrorism could not be the answer. After rejecting the designated terrorist group, he converted to Christianity and became an agent for Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, where he helped prevent terrorist attacks and put Hamas operatives behind bars.
In 2007, Yousef was granted political asylum in the U.S. and has been living here ever since. However, his mission to expose radical Islam is just beginning.
The Jerusalem Post reports the former Israeli spy and author of "Son of Hamas" made a surprise visit to Israel last month for the first time since 2007. While in the country, he spoke with the Post and explained why he believes “Islam is a religion of war."
Yousef said only 300 million out of 1.6 billion Muslims actually "understand the language of Koran." The ones that truly comprehend the teachings of Muhammad, he explained, feel an obligation to carry out his teachings and sometimes that means committing acts of violence and many times murder.
He also said Islam is more than just a religion for many Muslims – "it is an identity and culture, it is everything they know." He wants to create a dialogue for average Muslims to reexamine their faith and some of the ideologies they may have been raised on.
"It is time to expose the life of Muhammad," Yousef said boldly.
He plans on doing this by putting together a feature film to objectively examine the life of Muhammad -- an extremely dangerous undertaking as depicting Muhammad is forbidden under Islam and will likely mark him for death in some radical circles. As the Jerusalem Post points out, the Danish cartoon maker who dared to draw Muhammad was bombarded with death threats from furious Muslims and the controversy ultimately resulted in over 100 deaths.
Now, Yousef wants to take it up several notches and portray Muhammad on the big screen. But he says the risk is worth it.
"We are not trying to offend Muslims, we’re trying to bring the truth,” he told the Jerusalem Post. “If this suicide bomber who is trying to kill many people is motivated by that ideology, I would love to seed [sic] doubt in his head, at least to be able to question before he goes to commit suicide."
Yousef said he is currently looking for investors and collaborators to help put the movie together.
Watch Yousef's entire interview with Jerusalem Post TV here:
Yousef said the idea for the film came to him after having a conversation about Muhammad with his sister, who he said was in "denial" and refused to accept "solid facts."
"I love her and I was trying to help her see that tho is not a good way for her life. She could not see that."
Yousef added he is unable to speak rationally with his own siblings because they have essentially disowned him due of his abandonment of Islam. His brothers and sisters saw him as a father figure when they were young, he explained, mostly due to the fact their real father was gone most of the time fighting for Hamas.
"It really breaks my heart I can't talk to them," said Yousef. "I think this a time for Arabs [to] start to understand the importance of freedom, the importance of human life, what makes us different from animals, that we have the right to choose."
Yousef is not trying to change the minds of radical Muslims anyhow. Once again, he is appealing to the everyday Muslim and hopes to convince them to evaluate their own religious beliefs in an objective way.
“Today we have this powerful medium and the new generation can watch and see and make a judgment. They are looking for a difference in their life – they are looking for a better future. Let’s help them," he added.
While he acknowledges the potential danger of making a film about Muhammad, he says he is not afraid.
"There is nothing to be afraid about. We’re doing the right thing and we do it not through the power of conviction or the power of opinion, but through the power of truth.”
*Founded in 1987, Hamas is an Islamic terrorist organization whose base of operations is primarily concentrated in the Gaza Strip and some areas of Judea and Samaria (otherwise known as the West Bank). An Arabic acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement,” Sunni-comprised Hamas describes itself as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood” and is also a proxy of Iran, which frequently supplies the group arms as well as funds its various initiatives.