After Son of Hamas was released on March 2, everybody was telling me, “Congratulations! Congratulations!” And I appreciate their good will. But I want you to know that this was not the biggest victory in my life. It has been, and continues to be, my worst nightmare. I am going to share my heart and thoughts with you because I do not want you to be thinking that I am celebrating and having fun, while I feel like I am dying inside.
Any other author celebrates with his friends and family when his book comes out. How did I feel? I was crushed, because the day before the release, I learned on the news that my family had disowned me. Even though I knew they had to do it in order to protect themselves a little from the blow that was about to fall, it broke my heart. Because of me, the people I love most in this world now have to live as though their eldest son is dead—and even worse, that he died in shame and disgrace, an infidel and traitor.
Try to remember how you felt whenever your mother or father told you how proud they were of you when you accomplished some little thing, won an award, graduated from school, got a good job or a raise. Now imagine that your picture is on the front page of the newspaper, along with a story exposing all of your secret sins in agonizing detail. Imagine your shame and embarrassment, how your family would look at you then, how your friends, neighbors and coworkers would treat you.
And that is small, compared with the fear and guilt and shame heaped upon Muslims by their god. The god of the Qur’an is not tolerant, understanding or forgiving. He hates furiously and punishes without mercy everyone who crosses his red lines.
The shame my decision to go public has brought on my family can never be scrubbed clean. I broke their hearts and ruined their lives. Who will marry my sisters now? How can my brothers return to their schools?
And why? Because of me. I cannot help feeling like Israel’s King David who cried out, “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”
My family has already suffered so much. Why did I have to be responsible for piling on even worse suffering?
But I did not feel that I really had a choice. More than 1.6 billion Muslims live sincerely and ignorantly in the pitch darkness of Islam. And I was in a unique position to set many of them free. Son of Hamas was my shot, and I had to take it, no matter what the cost.
So what have I gotten out of writing a bestseller?
The U.S. government has rejected my plea for political asylum, saying that I was connected with a terrorist organization, even though I was never a member of Hamas. I can never become a citizen, and if I leave the country, I cannot return.
Because I became a Christian and helped to save Israeli and Palestinian lives, I am condemned to death by the Qur’an and its god, making it the duty of every good Muslim to kill me.
By going public, I put the lives of my mother, brothers and sisters at extreme risk. They still live in the West Bank, which is ruled by the Fatah faction of the PLO. Fatah hates Hamas because it killed many of its members in Gaza after the 2006 elections. What if Fatah members, afraid that I will reveal more secrets about them, go out of control and start shooting at my parents’ house?
Even Christians in the Middle East are tainted because of me. Now, every Muslim will accuse them of collaborating with Israel, threatening their lives.
At the same time, everywhere I go people try to discredit me and the book. They call me liar and anti-Semite. They say I made things up to make myself look big and important, even after my Shin Bet handler has said publicly that, when he read the book, he was amazed at how I downplayed my involvement and how few of our operations I included.
People accuse me of writing the book to get rich. But I am not rich. Just think for a moment: is there any amount of money that is worth stabbing your own family, friends and culture in the back? Bringing down a death sentence on your head? Living as a fugitive? Every day, I have to deal with all of these consequences alone, working under unbelievable pressure, trying hard to keep a smile on my face during the interviews.
I have lost all and gained little, not even the assurance that the book will do any good.
I am not looking for your pity or sympathy. But I do need some support. I need you to understand how much it really cost to write this book. I am making myself transparent and vulnerable so that maybe you can pray and help me deal with my guilt and frustration, loneliness and discouragement.
Thank you for your patience. Forgive me for taking so long to get this blog up and running. And come back often, because I have much more I want to share with you, both from my own heart and from my perspective on important developments in the Middle East.