Christian American Teacher Executed in Yemen for 'Proselytizing'
An English teacher from the United States was executed in Yemen on his way to work Sunday by an al Qaeda group that accused him of “proselytizing.”
Officials said a motorcycle gunman and an accomplice pulled alongside the vehicle that American Joel Shrun was riding in and opened fire.
Shrun was on his way to work in the city of Taiz at the time of the attack. He served as deputy director of the Swedish Institute, a language school, and was born in 1983.
The assailants escaped after the shooting, but an al Qaeda-linked group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.
"This operation comes as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytizing that the West has launched against Muslims," an unidentified person claiming responsibility on behalf of the group Ansar al-Sharia said in a message to journalists.
The group, whose name means "Partisans of Islamic Law," also called Shrun "one of the biggest American proselytizers."
Last week, Saudi Arabia's highest Islamic authority said no Christian churches should be allowed in the Arabian Peninsula, which includes Yemen.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah said the Islamic prophet Mohammad taught that there cannot be two religions on the Peninsula, and that only Islam should exist there.
Violence has increased in Yemen since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February, vowing to stop al Qaeda. The Islamic group has increased attacks in Yemen as a result.