May 25, 2018 — Seattle
On May 24, AJC Seattle was honored to welcome Mohammed Al-Samawi to our region. Al-Samawi’s memoir, “The Fox Hunt” was recently released by Harper Collins. He spoke of his upbringing and recounted the harrowing story of his escape from Yemen amidst their civil war, engineered through social media with the help of four acquaintances involved in interfaith outreach, including two young AJC board members.
Mohammed was raised with the belief that Jews and Christians were enemies, hated Muslims and were all destined to hell. He knew and admired a Christian man and was disturbed by his sealed fate. He asked him if he would read the Koran in hopes of saving him. The man was willing and in turn wanted Mohammed to read the bible. This experience started Mohammed on a path to meet Christians and Jews, not an easy task in Yemen. He met some Christians and Jews on through social media and interfaith conferences and made it his mission to promote interfaith dialogues in his country.
Through his actions, Mohammed received death threats both to himself and his family. To protect all of them he felt it best to flee to Aden, unaware it was the center of the north-south civil war and placing him in mortal danger. As he hid in a bathroom, he desperately reached out to any he knew seeking help of this situation. Four of his young interfaith acquaintances, two men (both AJC lay leaders) and two women, three of which were Jews and one a Christian answered his plea.
This is a story of an incredible, against the odds escape and never imagined friendships. These relationships, born out of a pursuit in finding commonalities instead of differences as well as learning to respect those of other groups and religions.
AJC Seattle would like to thank Congregation Ezra Bessaroth for graciously hosting this wonderful event.