Press Release

ADL Honors Interfaith Activist, Yemeni Refugee and Author Mohammed AL Samawi With Daniel Pearl Award

New York, NY, November 9, 2021 … Mohammed AL Samawi was honored today at ADL’s annual Never Is Now Summit on Antisemitism and Hate with the prestigious Daniel Pearl Award. AL Samawi, a Yemeni refugee and author of The Fox Hunt: A Refugee’s Memoir of Coming to America, was honored for his work as an interfaith activist, his moving story of being rescued as a refugee, and his founding of Abrahamic House, an organization dedicated to building sustainable interfaith learning and action across Muslim, Jewish, Baha’i and Christian communities.

The ADL Daniel Pearl Award was established by long-time ADL leaders, George and Ruth Moss and their son Richard Moss, following the horrific murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 at the hands of terrorists in Pakistan in honor of his memory and his commitment through his work to build cultural bridges and promote understanding.

“Mohammed AL Samawi’s arduous and inspiring journey from traditionalist to interfaith activist, buoyed by his remarkable escape from war-torn Yemen, arrival in the United States as a refugee, and his founding of Abrahamic House exemplify Daniel Pearl’s own pursuit of truth, defense of freedom and efforts to help people from different walks of life understand each other,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “We could not think of anyone more fitting for such a prestigious honor than Mohammed.”

AL Samawi’s path to interfaith commitment began six years ago when four American strangers helped rescue him from Sanaa, Yemen, which is detailed in his book The Fox Hunt: A Refugee’s Memoir of Coming to America. A 2019 Nautilus Book Awards winner and finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards, The Fox Hunt  is currently being developed as a major motion picture by LaLaLand Producer Marc Platt and former ADL honoree Steven Spielberg.

"The path I chose is often a lonely one; it's indeed the price of choosing to break the norm and actively work for a different world,” said AL Samawi. “Receiving this honor from ADL is certainly a good reminder that I'm surrounded and recognized by those who matter. I'm so grateful to the ADL team, and hope to continue to live up to the honor of being a Daniel Pearl Award winner."  

In 2019, AL Samawi created the Abrahamic House, a multi-faith incubator for social change with a mission to build sustainable interfaith learning and action across Muslim, Jewish, Bahai and Christian communities in order to foster an environment of respect, justice, and social change. Currently, the Abrahamic House has locations in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Previous recipients of the ADL Daniel Pearl Award, include: The Aladdin Project, a Paris-based organization promoting intercultural understanding between the Muslim world and Jews,  Henrique Cymerman, veteran Middle East correspondent; Pilar Rahola Spanish journalist and former Parliament Member; Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, founder of Jewish World Watch; Robert Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic; Maziar Bahari, filmmaker and human rights activist; and Thomas L. Friedman, columnist for The New York Times.