A Muslim convert to Christianity is suing First Presbyterian Church and its pastor, the Rev. James D. Miller, alleging that church leaders published an announcement of his baptism on the Internet after assuring him they would not do so.
The Tulsa County resident, identified only as John Doe in court papers for his own safety, alleges that because the news of his conversion appeared on the Internet, he was kidnapped on a trip to his native Syria by radical Muslims seeking to enforce Shariah law.
According to the filing in Tulsa District Court, he was bound, beaten and tortured for several days, and was forced to spend 18 hours a day in a 55-gallon electrified drum. He also was stabbed several times, shot, and threatened with beheading.
When Doe was taken out to be beheaded, he managed to free his hands, grab a firearm from a captor, kill one of them, his paternal uncle, and escape, according to the court filing.
Tulsa attorney Keith Ward, who is representing Doe, said the case is one of the strangest he has seen.
“We understand the skepticism toward the claim,” he said, “but his injuries and all the allegations are well documented.”
He said Doe has had four surgeries to repair injuries he received in Syria since returning to Tulsa.
He said Doe, in his 40s, went to Syria to pick up his bride.
Doe had lived most of his adult life in the United States, and was close to getting his U.S. citizenship.
The court filing says that in 2012 Doe discussed converting to Christianity with the leaders at First Presbyterian Church, and discussed the need to keep his conversion private, because under Shariah law, one who converts from Islam is put to death, usually by beheading.
After receiving assurances of privacy from church leaders, he was baptized by Miller at the church on Dec. 30, 2012.
He left immediately for Syria, arriving in Damascus on Jan. 2, 2013.
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SOURCE: Tulsa World