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Four Strangers, Three Faiths, and One Extraordinary Escape to Freedom

Meet Mohammed Al Samawi, author of “The Fox Hunt” and Chicago native Justin Hefter

April 17, 2018 | 11:30-1:30pm (doors open at 11:15am)
Chicago Sinai Congregation | 15 W. Delaware Place (map)
$45 (book and lunch)
$65 (VIP seating, lunch and meet & greet and photo opportunity)

Learn about a young man’s moving story of war, friendship, and hope in which he recounts his harrowing escape from a brutal civil war in Yemen with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media by four interfaith activists, Chicago native Justin Hefter among them. The talk will be moderated by Ji Suk Yi, Chicago Sun-Times Program Host.

THE FOX HUNT is in development at Fox 2000 Pictures, with Marc Platt Productions (La La LandBridge of Spies) producing, and Josh Singer (Oscar-winning screenwriter of Spotlight) adapting for the screen.



11:15 AM Doors open
11:30 – 12:15 PM Boxed lunch and networking in the Social Hall
11:30- 12:15 PM (limited number of tickets available) VIP Reception in the Chapel
12:30-1:30 PM Program in the Sanctuary



Mohammed Al SamawiMohammed Al Samawi, Author

As a young boy growing up in a middleclass family in northern Yemen, Mohammed Al Samawi was taught to hate Jews and Christians. At the age of twenty-three, his view of the world changed.  While remaining a devout Muslim, he was determined to learn about other religions and turned to social media to connect with Jews and Christians. Eventually, he attended interfaith conferences, connected with his new virtual friends, and embraced an open mind and hope for the future. His mission to foster interfaith understanding put him in grave danger, and he reached out to his connections for help. The Fox Hunt, by Al Samawi, is a refugee’s memoir — a story of four strangers, three faiths, and one extraordinary escape to freedom.

Since coming to America in May 2015, Mohammed Al Samawi has been involved with various NGOs and interfaith groups. He has worked at the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) in Washington, DC, where he is still a fellow.


Justin HefterJustin Hefter, Board Member of the African Middle Eastern Leadership Project

Justin, a Stanford University graduate and Chicago native, is the founder and CEO of Bandura—a company he created with Palestinian and Israeli partners, which encourages intercultural cooperation and develops social networks for non-governmental organizations to connect people of diverse backgrounds. In March 2015, Justin, along with three other interfaith activists, helped rescue Mohammed Al Samawi from civil war in Yemen.


Mohammed Al SamawiJi Suk Yi, Chicago Sun-Times Program Host and Moderator

Born in South Korea, Ji immigrated to the U.S. when she was four years old. Growing up in rural North Carolina, an eclectic childhood contributed to her unique perspective and curiosity.

Ji attended Salem College and after having received her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she discovered her heart was actually into journalism and she decided to move to Chicago to pursue that career. She is now proud to call Chicago home for almost 12 years. With experience in media as a tv personality, social media host and local foodie, she joins the Chicago Sun-Times as a Program Host.

Note: All tickets include a copy of The Fox Hunt and a boxed lunch. Additional books will be available onsite for purchase.

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