A popular member of the terrorist group Hamas has apparently converted to Christianity.
His name is Masab Joseph and he's the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a vice-president of Hamas.
He tells the Israeli newspaper Haaretz he accepted an invitation to hear about Christianity and began studying the Bible. Besides changing his life, he has changed his surname to Joseph.
"Out of curiosity I went," he said. "I was very enthusiastic about what I heard. I began to read the Bible every day and I continued with religion lessons. I did it in secret, of course. I used to travel to the Ramallah hills, to places like the Al Tira neighborhood, and to sit there quietly with the amazing landscape and read the Bible. A verse like "Love thine enemy" had a great influence on me."
Joseph continued, "At this stage I was still a Muslim and I thought that I would remain one. But every day I saw the terrible things done in the name of religion by those who considered themselves 'great believers.' I studied Islam more thoroughly and found no answers there. I reexamined the Koran and the principals of the faith and found how it is mistaken and misleading. The Muslims borrowed rituals and traditions from all the surrounding religions," he explained.
Joseph explains that he can now know God through his son Jesus Christ - something seemingly impossible in the Muslim faith.
"I feel that Christianity has several aspects. It's not only a religion but a faith," he said. "I now see God through Jesus and can tell about him for days on end, whereas the Muslims won't be able to say anything about God. I consider Islam a big lie. The people who supposedly represent the religion admired Mohammed more than God, killed innocent people in the name of Islam, beat their wives and don't have any idea what God is. I have no doubt that they'll go to Hell,"
Islam, he says, had no answers. Now he's issuing a message to the Muslim community.
"There is only one way to Paradise - the way of Jesus who sacrificed himself on the cross for all of us," he said.
Joseph is bold in the proclamation of his new found faith, despite the danger to his life or the possibility of losing those he holds dear - like his father.
"I hope that he'll understand this and that God will give him and my family the patience and willingness to open their eyes to Jesus and to Christianity," Joseph said. "Maybe one day, I'll be able to return to Palestine and to Ramallah together with Jesus, in the kingdom of God."
The young man also explains his respect for Israel.
"I respect Israel and admire it as a country," he said. "I'm opposed to a policy of killing civilians, or using them as a means to an end, and I understand that Israel has a right to defend itself."
Joseph added, "The Palestinians, if they don't have an enemy to fight, will fight each other. In about 20 years from now you'll remember what I'm telling you, the conflict will be among various groups within Hamas. They're already beginning to quarrel over control of the money."