السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
[left]American-born Yousef Al-Khattab, formerly Joseph Cohen, a devout Orthodox Jew, moved to Israel in 1998 in the name of Judaism, where he stayed in Gush Qatif settlement in Gaza. Three years later, he converted to Islam after a theological dialogue with an Emiratei sheikh over the Internet. Within a short period of time, his wife and four children joined him in embracing Islam. He is now actively engaged in da'wah (call for Islam) among Jews.
Joseph Cohen moved from the United States to Israel as a devout Jew in 1998, but within three years he had converted to Islam and become Yousef Mohammed Al-Khattab, a supporter of the militant Hamas, according to a report broadcast Thursday on Israel TV.
Now he refuses to say the word Israel, choosing instead to call the area "Palestine." His four children study the Quran, the Muslim holy book, instead of the Torah, its Jewish counterpart.
It was while living in the desert town of Netivot that Khattab met a sheik from the United Arab Emirates through an Internet chat about Israel. Khattab said he spent hours corresponding with the sheik, discussing theology. Gradually he began to see Judaism as racist and turned toward Islam after reading the Quran, he told Channel 10 TV. The report did not say where he lived in the United States or give his age.
Last year he told his wife of 10 years, Luna, also a devout Jew from the United States, that he wanted to convert to Islam.
"I said, `Listen, I love you very much ... and I have to be honest with you,'" Khattab said in the TV interview. "I read the Quran and I agree with everything it says in the Quran, and if I continue saying that I'm a religious Jew, I would be a liar."
The family converted together and moved from Netivot to an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem. The children went from being top in their classes on Judaism studies to being well-versed in Islam, he said.
Instead of supporting the Israeli Orthodox Jewish political party Shas, Khattab now supports the radical Islamic Hamas and believes an Islamic state should be set up where Israel and the Palestinian areas are now located.
He praised Hamas for setting up social services for Palestinians but dodged questions about the other side of the Islamic group — suicide bombings and other attacks against Israelis. The United States has declared Hamas a terror group.
Khattab differed from most Israelis and Americans in his views about Osama bin Laden, the top suspect in the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington.
"I think that he's number one, Muslim number one," Khattab said with a strong New York accent about bin Laden. "But I don't think that he's responsible for the World Trade Center (attacks)."
Wearing the white skullcap and robes of a religious Muslim, Khattab denied his Jewish past, insisting that he is 100 percent Muslim. He made a parody of a blessing that observant Jews say every morning, in which they thank God for not making them gentiles.
"Blessed are Thou, Lord Our God," Khattab began in the traditional Jewish blessing, but ended it with, "for not making me a Jew."
Al-Khattab's site has been attacked with viruses, threats and complaints. With links such as "My Heros the Taliban" and "Freaky Jewish Stuff," which details such familiar anti-Semitic myths as rabbis sucking babies' blood, it is no wonder the site has been taken down several times
[color=red]The Official Website Of Al-Khattab Family
His transformation from being an ultra-Orthodox American Jew to a fundamentalist Muslim gives him license to preach a higher level of invective against Jews than his Gentile counterparts, said Rabbi Tovia Singer, who says al Khattab threatened his life by posting his home address on the Internet and inviting Muslims to "visit him at his home and help him understand what it's like to suffer."
"Jews who've converted to Islam are disenfranchised and self-hating," Singer said. "When you listen to them, you will hear virulent hatred toward Judaism. Their message is pregnant with hate."
But al Khattab, who denies ever having contact with Singer, says it is Judaism, rather than Jews, that he opposes, arguing that Jews have been misled by their rabbis.
"Muslims are all inclusive and the whole message of Islam is to invite Jews, Nazis, capitalists, all religions and beliefs," al Khattab said in an e-mail.
Al Khattab, who has converted 11 Jews, said he was attracted by Islam's clear message of obedience to God. He seems unfazed by charges that he supports the goals of terrorists (he has called on Muslims to take up arms against Jews who don't convert), or by other Muslims' initial suspicions that he was a member of Mossad, the Israeli secret service.
"When we become Muslims we do this for the sake of Allah all mighty alone," he said. "We don't care if Muslims or non-Muslims approve of our goals."
Some quotes from an interview
"Judaism should really be called Rabbism. And it is based on God being racist, imperfect, and it is based on everything found in business dealings. "Oh God, please don't forget your covenant, and give me this and this." Judaism originally is an Eastern religion, and when the Jews moved away from the Middle East, they lost most of their eastern ideas. That is except one concept: tribalism. And this in turn turned into racism. Their faith is not based on the Torah, it is based on the Talmud..."
"I believe that the holocaust did take place before I was a Muslim. And today, I still believe that some Jews were killed, but I think the 6 million number is not correct. And we sympathize with them as we sympathize with all the Russians who were killed, the Greeks, the Polish, and all those who were killed.
I believe today the letter "S" in holocaust should be changed to a dollar sign "$". I believe that after instituting an Islamic or Palestinian state, we the Muslims and Palestinians in occupied Palestine should be recompensed for the suffering put on us by the Jewish state