ENID – Thousands flocked to a Southern Baptist church in this Garfield County city Sunday to hear a Gospel message from the son of a radical Islamic group leader.
Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose father is a member of Hamas, told crowds at Emmanuel Baptist Church that he turned from Islam to Christianity after being drawn to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, among other Scriptures.
A Palestinian who has been living in America since 2006, Yousef said the words were a salve to his soul.
“I saw that Jesus says ‘Love your enemies,’” he said. “I waited and waited and thought about it for a long time.”
The Rev. Wade Burleson, Emmanuel’s senior pastor, said Yousef’s presentation drew about 3,000 people to the church’s three morning services.
An evening question-and-answer session with the former Muslim also drew a large crowd.
“He is refreshing to be around because Christianity has cost him everything, but there is an inner joy that temporal things cannot bring,” Burleson said.
The preacher said the church did not publicize Yousef’s appearance out of concern for his safety and that of attendees. He said he decided to ask Yousef to speak after seeing a Fox News story about him several months ago. (Watch below)
Yousef, 31, said his father is one of the founders of Gaza Strip leaders, Hamas, which some people consider a terrorist organization. He said he grew up amid much death and destruction and watched his father, a teacher, be imprisoned many times by Israelis. He said it was commonplace to see Hamas leaders dragging their dead comrades back from a bloody conflict in an effort to prevent Israelis from taking the bodies.
Yousef said he was enthusiastic about following in his father’s footsteps as a teacher and working hard to get the “God of Islam pleased with my works.
“I believed in Islam as a solution for life.”
But Yousef said he was imprisoned by the Israelis at age 18 for being the leader of the Hamas youth movement.