The school employing a teacher from Lancaster County gunned down in Yemen has denied accusations that he was proselytizing Christianity.

A text message that circulated by mobile phone in Yemen said that “holy warriors” had killed “a senior missionary” in the central city of Taiz, shortly after the teacher was shot dead Sunday by two gunmen on a motorcycle.

A statement from the International Training Development Centre in Taiz identified the victim as Joel Shrum, an American development worker living in Yemen with his wife and two children since 2010.

The school denied that Shrum was proselytizing, saying that he “highly respected” Islam. It said Muslims and Christians work together on “human development, skill transfer and community development” projects there and that religious and political debates are not permitted.

Shrum’s father told the newspaper his son loved his job. “He was just motivated by especially seeing people coming out of poverty,” James Shrum said.

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