A man who converted from Islam to Christianity has sued the First Presbyterian Church of Tulsa, Okla. because, he says, the church announced his baptism despite promising to keep it confidential. Then, a bunch of militant Islamists found out about his conversion, tortured him and tried to behead him.
In the state court filing, the plaintiff is identified only as John Doe, reports the Tulsa World.
The Syrian-born Doe is a fortysomething resident of Tulsa County who has lived much of his life in the United States but is not yet an American citizen.
Doe is also suing the Rev. James D. Miller, the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Tulsa.
His complaint states that church employees told him they wouldn’t publicize his December 2012 baptism.
However, he says, they published information about it on the Internet in January 2013 while Doe was in Syria to fetch his bride.
Doe alleges that things went very badly for him in Syria. In mid-January, he says, he was kidnapped by Muslim radicals bent on implementing Shariah law.
The radicals had found out about his conversion to Christianity on the Internet, the lawsuit says.
One of the kidnappers, Doe claims, was his uncle on his father’s side.
Doe says his captors tied him up, beat him and tortured him. He claims to have been constrained in a 55-gallon drum rigged with electricity for 18 hours each day. He says he was stabbed. He says he was shot.
Eventually, the plaintiff swears, the radical Islamists were ready to behead him. That’s when he wriggled his hands free and seized a gun held by one of his kidnappers.
In the midst of a daring escape, he says, he shot and killed his uncle.
Local attorney Keith Ward is representing Doe.
“We understand the skepticism toward the claim,” Ward told the Tulsa World, “but his injuries and all the allegations are well documented.”
G. Steven Stidham, another attorney representing Doe, described the behavior of church officials as “an outrageous breach of trust that led to a disastrous consequences,” according to the Tulsa newspaper.
The complaint, which you can read here in its entirety, alleges that Doe had warned the First Presbyterian Church of Tulsa not to publicize his conversion to Christianity precisely because some Muslims believe that any adherent of Islam who converts to another religion must be executed.
In a carefully worded statement about the pending litigation, Rev. Miller observed that Doe did, in fact get baptized – openly and notoriously – at First Presbyterian.
“As the facts and truth of these events are revealed during the judicial process, it will become clear that First Church followed its normal procedures in baptizing this person and the claims made in the suit are not proper,” Miller’s statement said.