Ex-Muslim Sues Church for Publicizing Conversion Before Syria Trip

Friday, 13 Jun 2014 10:53 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A Muslim-to-Christian convert is suing an Oklahoma church for publicizing his baptism online, saying the announcement led to his being beaten, tortured and threatened with beheading during a visit to his Syrian homeland.

Identified in court papers only as John Doe, the man, who is in his 40s, says he was baptized at the First Presbyterian Church of Tulsa on Dec. 30, 2012 – and told the pastor the event had to be kept secret because he was going back home to bring back his bride, and under Shariah law, a convert from Islam is put to death, usually by beheading, the Tulsa World reported.

"Before and after his baptism… Plaintiff was assured his baptism would not be publicized," the complaint stated.

Yet on Jan. 6, 2013, a baptism notice went online, and a pair of church leaders promised the mistaken posting would be removed. It wasn’t taken down until April 2014, Christian Today reported.

In mid-January, the convert was accosted by radical Muslims who’d seen the posting, and despite the man’s denial, he was kidnapped, tortured, beat and shot, the Tulsa World reported.

He claims his escape came after he grabbed a gun from one of the captors as they were leading him to his beheading, and fatally shot an uncle who was part of the gang. He then survived a revenge slashing by a cousin, his suit claims.

"We understand the skepticism toward the claim," lawyer Keith Ward told the Tulsa World.

“But his injuries and all the allegations are well documented."

Ward said his client, who still gets death threats, is suing for $75,000 in damages, breach of contract, and negligence.

"The lawsuit is brought by a person who received the Sacrament of Baptism before the congregation during a regular Sunday service at First Church," the pastor, the Rev. James Miller, said in a statement to the Tulsa World.

"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."

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