2012-04-05 / Features

Widow Of U.S. Teacher Slain In Yemen Felt No Threat

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) – The widow of an American teacher who was killed in Yemen two weeks ago said the family knew about the risks of living there but never felt threatened.

Joel Shrum, 29, of Mount Joy, Pa., was gunned down March 18 in the central city of Taiz, where he had been living with his wife and two sons while studying Arabic and teaching English at a language institute. The Yemen branch of Al-Qaida claimed responsibility, saying he had been trying to spread Christianity in the mainly Muslim Arab nation.

Janelle Shrum told The Associated Press in an email late Saturday that she and her family left Yemen for three months last year but decided to return. She said they felt safe in their neighborhood and avoided areas of the city where most of the violence occurred, and had no clear warning of any threat in the days and weeks before the shooting.

She remembered her husband as “a very loving, genuine man” whom she met in a Spanish class in college in 2001.

“He was always showering our children with love, lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles, and he always told them how proud he was of them,” she said.

Shrum said her husband “Lived in the reality that we are all created in the image of God and that nothing can separate us from the love of God,” she said. “These truths were an inspiration for everything that he did.”

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