At the end of the day, Joel Shrum was a non-Muslim, and an American. That is all the excuse al-Qaeda would need, but they are likely seeking further support in the population by pandering to existing animosity and suspicions. An update on this story. “Al Qaeda claims it killed American in Yemen,” by Hakeem Almasmari for CNN, March 20:
Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) — Gunmen fatally shot an American teacher in the Yemeni province of Taiz on Sunday, two defense ministry officials said.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror network’s affiliate in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the killing.
In a text message sent to Yemeni media outlets, the group said the victim was spreading Christianity, calling him one of the biggest missionaries in the country.
But the International Training and Development Center said the victim, whom it identified as “Joel S.,” was not a missionary.
“He was an American development worker who had been working in Yemen with his wife and two children since 2010,” when he began working for the education center, it said.
“Unfortunately Joel S. has been accused of being a part of a proselytizing campaign, but the staff of ITDC, which consists of Muslims, Christians and other religions working together, has continually focused on human development, skill transfer and community development,” the center said. “Joel S. was a very professional employee who highly respected the Islamic religion.”
“Respect” may not be enough. There is also Muhammad’s pledge to consider: “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.” – Sahih Muslim 19.4366.
Authorities have not said who killed the teacher. The head of security in the province, Mohamed Saidi, identified him as Joel Shrum.
The U.S. Embassy in the capital, Sanaa, said it had heard reports of an American death and was investigating. It did not confirm that an American had been killed. […]
In Sunday’s attack, two men on a motorcycle fired eight shots at the teacher, who was on his way to work at a Swedish language center in the provincial capital, the defense ministry officials said.
“We are investigating the killing as this is the first of its kind against a western national in Taiz,” one of the defense officials said. Neither wanted to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.