In late December 2012, Jewish American photographer Matthew Schrier was captured by an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria while traveling on the road between Aleppo and the Turkish border. He was among a collection of kidnapped American journalists held by Syrian jihadists in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Schrier strategically converted to Islam in March 2013 as a survival tactic to get better treatment, a strategy which later proved to be life-saving. Schrier, in July 2013, seven months after he was captured, became the first and only westerner to escape from Al Qaeda.
Schrier shared his harrowing story of survival on February 21 at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora.