Monday, March 19, 2012

Joel Shrum, Development Worker, International Training Center in Taiz, Yeman

I.  Name:  Joel Shrum
II.  Rank:  N/A (Missionary/Teacher/Development Worker
III.  Country Served:  United States Citizen serving in Yemen
IV.  Service:  N/A (International Training Center in Taiz, Yemen)
V.  Conflict:  Victim in Global War on Terrorism
VI.  Related News Items


Lancaster County native killed while working in Yemen

Published: Monday, March 19, 2012, 9:49 AM     Updated: Monday, March 19, 2012, 12:16 PM
SANAA, Yemen — The school employing a teacher from Lancaster County gunned down in Yemen has denied accusations that he was proselytizing Christianity.
Mideast YemenView full sizeYemenis gather around a damaged vehicle purported to belong to an American teacher shot by gunmen in Taiz, Yemen, Sunday, March 18, 2012. 
(AP Photo/Anees Mahyoub)
A text message that circulated by mobile phone in Yemen said that "holy warriors" had killed "a senior missionary" in the central city of Taiz, shortly after the teacher was shot dead Sunday by two gunmen on a motorcycle.
A statement from the International Training Development Centre in Taizidentified the victim as Joel Shrum, an American development worker living in Yemen with his wife and two children since 2010.
The school denied that Shrum was proselytizing, saying that he "highly respected" Islam. It said Muslims and Christians work together on "human development, skill transfer and community development" projects there and that religious and political debates are not permitted. 
joel-shrum.jpgJoel Shrum
Shrum, 29, was a graduate of Donegal High School, according to the The (Lancaster) Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era, and was from Mount Joy. His wife is from the Harrisburg area.
Shrum's father told the newspaper his son loved his job. "He was just motivated by especially seeing people coming out of poverty," James Shrum said.
It was impossible to confirm the claim of responsibility. Al-Qaida and other militant groups are active in Yemen, which has suffered a breakdown of central state authority during the country's yearlong uprising.
Taiz security director Ali al-Saidi said Monday that the investigation is still ongoing.
The release said the school "is calling on the Yemeni people to rise up and rejects the hatred and violence in their country."

Joel Shrum had last talked to his family on Friday, discussing a planned vacation together this summer, the Lancaster newspaper reported.
Shrum was a standout football player at Donegal High School, where former coach Gayne Deshler remembered him as a team-first player. Deshler told the newspaper he worried about Shrum and other family members who did church worker abroad, fearing the kind of violence that took Shrum's life.
"They were the kind of family you could see doing that because they were always more interested in other people than themselves," he said.
Shrum's parents say he went to Yemen in 2009 to learn Arabic, not to proselytize, and became passionate about teaching business skills to Yemenis.
Jim and Lynda Shrum said Monday that their son Joel’s friends in Yemen were Muslim and that he respected their religion.
The couple says they learned Sunday morning from the director of the International Training Development Centre in Taiz, where Joel worked, that their 29-year-old son had been killed. The Shrums say they fear for the safety of Joel’s wife and two young sons, as well as his friends there.
This story has been updated from an earlier version.

From Creeping Sharia:

Muslims kill American teacher in Yemen

SANAA (Reuters) – Gunmen linked to al Qaeda shot dead an American teacher in Yemen on Sunday, accusing him of Christian “proselytizing”, and officials said government forces had killed a dozen militants in clashes and attacks on their strongholds.
The incidents underscore the challenges facing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who took office last month after a year of massive protests against his predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh.
A police source in the city of Taiz said a gunman riding on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice shot the U.S. English language teacher, who was also deputy director of a language school, the Swedish Institute.
Officials from the institute in Taiz, Yemen’s commercial hub 200 km (120 miles) south of Sanaa, identified the victim as Joel Shrun and said he was born in 1983.
A U.S. State Department official condemned Shrun’s killing. “We continue to work to obtain additional information and urge Yemeni authorities to bring to justice all those responsible for this heinous crime,” said the official, who did not want to be named.
Even if it were true and he was proselytizing, repeated acts like this remind of us of the reality that is Islam.

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