"A gripping account of terror and escape.” New York Times Book Review
The Fox Hunt tells one young man’s unforgettable story of his harrowing escape from Yemen's brutal civil war with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media by a small group of interfaith activists in the West.
WINNER: 2019 NAUTILUS BOOK AWARDS • A 2019 NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARDS FINALIST
Born in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen, to a pair of middle-class doctors, Mohammed Al Samawi was a devout Muslim raised to think of Christians and Jews as his enemy. But when Mohammed was twenty-three, he secretly received a copy of the Bible, and what he read cast doubt on everything he’d previously believed. After connecting with Jews and Christians on social media, and at various international interfaith conferences, Mohammed became an activist, making it his mission to promote dialogue and cooperation in Yemen.
Then came the death threats: first on Facebook, then through terrifying anonymous phone calls. To protect himself and his family, Mohammed fled to the southern port city of Aden. He had no way of knowing that Aden was about to become the heart of a north-south civil war, and the battleground for a well-funded proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. As gunfire and grenades exploded throughout the city, Mohammed hid in the bathroom of his apartment and desperately appealed to his contacts on Facebook.
Miraculously, a handful of people he barely knew responded. 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.
The story of an improbable escape as riveting as the best page-turning thrillers, The Fox Hunt reminds us that goodness and decency can triumph in the darkest circumstances.
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About the Author
Mohammed Al Samawi was born in 1986 in Yemen. In his midtwenties, he became involved in interfaith groups promoting dialogue between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. In 2015, during the Yemeni Civil War, he fled from Aden to the United States. Since his entry to the United States, he has worked for several NGOs that promote peace and religious tolerance.
Table of Contents
Map of Yemen ix
Chapter 1 Weak Ties, Strong Bonds 1
Chapter 2 Contradictions 11
Chapter 3 Reason and Religion 27
Chapter 4 Rinse and Repeat 47
Chapter 5 The Economics of Love 65
Chapter 6 The Book of Luke 85
Chapter 7 The Fox Hunt 113
Chapter 8 Up, Up, and Away 139
Chapter 9 Consequences 161
Chapter 10 If at First You Don't Succeed … 179
Chapter 11 You Say You Want a Revolution 187
Chapter 12 Are You Home? 205
Chapter 13 A Man of My Word 229
Chapter 14 Clear and Present Danger 241
Chapter 15 Call to Prayer 257
Chapter 16 The Justice League 271
Chapter 17 The Ones Who Said Yes 281
Chapter 18 Good News and Bad News 299
Chapter 19 A New Hope 309
Chapter 20 Network of Networks 317
Chapter 21 Luck Be a Lady 331
Chapter 22 The Waiting Game 361
Chapter 23 Fantasia 373
Chapter 24 Go, Go, Go 387
Chapter 25 What Just Happened? 409
Chapter 26 If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of Djibouti 419
Chapter 27 The Promised Land 437
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When I was in college, I had to write a paper in my comparative governments class about a country I knew nothing about. We drew them from a hat. I drew Yemen. From that day, I have followed Yemen in the news. So when I won a copy of Fox Hunt, I was excited to read it. Now I sit, crying a river of tears after finishing it and hoping that I can get as many people as possible to read this book. Mohammed Al Samawi was born and raised in Yemen. He was raised Muslim and raised to hate Americans and Jews and Israel. When he was in college an English instructor gave him a copy of the Bible and he gave his English instructor a copy of the Quran. That Bible changed Mr. Samawi's life. He decided to learn more about Christians and Jews and joined interfaith groups on Facebook. He attended conferences and worked for NGOs in Yemen. His parents were less than thrilled about it. But he loved his work. Then he started receiving death threats. He moved from northern Yemen to Southern Yemen to work for Oxfam. And then the civil war broke out. He was sure he was going to be killed. He reached out to his friends on social media. Men and women from Israel and America - men and women who were Jews and Christians - worked tirelessly to get Mohammed out of Yemen. Eventually, they did and Mohammed is in the U.S. today, waiting for the civil war to end so he can go home and see his family. I do not want to give away the entire book, but even if I did you would still want to read Mohammed's story. With all of the talk in this country, in particular, about immigrants being evil and raping and pillaging, this story shows that is so far from the truth. It is a story of all the good things in life - peace, love, tolerance, and helping others with no visible benefit to you. I was utterly floored by this book and I would highly recommend it.
This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read – and it is a true story! Across the top of the front cover of the book is a very powerful description – “Four Strangers, Three Faiths, and One Extraordinary Escape to Freedom”. Mohammed Al Samawi grew up in Yemen being taught to hate Christians and Jews. But then he met Luke, a Christian professor, and they struck up a friendship. With sincere concern for Luke, Mohammed presented him with a copy of the Quran. Luke agreed to read the Quran if Mohammed would read the Bible. This challenge would ultimately totally change Mohammed’s life. The more he read, the more he came to realize that Jews, Christians, and Muslims are more similar than they are different. This realization resulted in so many questions he knew he had to get answers. He began on-line interactions with Jews and Christians and attended conferences in Sarajevo and Jordan. It was in Jordan that he met a young lady who would later help save his life. But his interactions with Jews and Christians soon got the attention of the extremist groups. He began receiving death threats and soon knew his life was truly in danger. How could he get out of Yemen? Fearing for the safety of his family he left his home of Sana’a and fled to Aden. In Aden, he reached out on social media asking for help. He was trapped, all alone, in the bathroom of his apartment while outside the gunfire and grenades exploded. His social media friends became his family, there with him 24 hours a day. It was four young interfaith activists – two in the US and two in Tel Aviv - with no experience in foreign affairs, international relations, or foreign diplomacy who, through social media, carried out a miracle. They reached out to everyone they knew and got them to also reach out to their networks. And people responded! They connected with various militaries, governments, and organizations where they found some who were willing to help. The way they got him out of Yemen is just mind-boggling. Not only did they get him out of Yemen but they then got him to the US. This is a miraculous story. It restores faith that there really are good people out there who will go to great measures for people they do not know. Why? It is just the right thing to do I guess. It really should be no surprise too that his story has already been picked up to be made into a movie. This is absolutely a MUST READ.
This is an incredible book that chronicles an amazing transformation. Shows the power of knowledge and exploration and how social media can be used for good. If you want a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat, you should get The Fox Hunt!!