Presented in partnership with B’nai Vail & American Jewish Committee
Kathy & Neal Kimmel generously underwrite the Hot Topics series
Cindy Engles generously underwrites the summer season of programming
During the Yemeni civil war, Mohammed Al Samawi became the target of death threats because of his work with interfaith groups promoting dialogue between Muslims, Christians and Jews. His pleas on social media galvanized a handful of people he barely knew. Over thirteen days, four ordinary young people with zero experience in diplomacy or military exfiltration worked across six technology platforms and ten time zones to save this innocent young man trapped between deadly forces— rebel fighters from the north and Al Qaeda operatives from the south.
Mohammed Al Samawi’s improbable story of survival is captured in the 2019 book “The Fox Hunt,” which earned that year’s Nautilus Book Award and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards. Raised a devout Muslim to fear and despise Christians and Jews, a secret opportunity to read the Bible rattled his faith. Curiosity led him to interfaith communities and open dialogue with Christians and Jews which inspired his mission to catalyze cooperation in Yemen.
The civil war in 2015 exacerbated the factional divides and placed Al Samawi in the crosshairs of militants. Death threats forced him to leave his hometown and escalation forced him to seek a life outside of his home country. An interfaith group of strangers coordinated his escape and opened the door to his future.
In 2019, he founded Abrahamic House on the belief that nothing replaces human-to-human connection and that it is possible to change an individual’s harmful prejudices which leads to a restorative and empowering shift in their community. His interfaith activism transforms communities around solidarity and service.
Recommended reading available at The Bookworm in Edwards: