June 13, 2014
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A former Muslim who converted to Christianity is suing a Tulsa church, alleging that its leaders endangered his life by publishing his baptism announcement online.
Identified as John Doe in court records, the man is a native of Syria who lives in Oklahoma. According to the lawsuit filed this week against First Presbyterian Church and its pastor, James Miller, the man was allegedly attacked on a trip to Syria after the church published a notice of his baptism online.
“In mid-January 2013, plaintiff was confronted by radical Muslims in Damascus, Syria, who told plaintiff that they had read of his Christian conversion on the Internet and that they were aware he had converted from Islam,” the lawsuit states. “Although plaintiff denied that he had converted to Christianity, his accusers were undeterred. … When plaintiff was unable to convince them, his accusers kidnapped him, bound him and blindfolded him and informed him that they were going to carry out his death sentence resulting from his conversion from Islam.”
The lawsuit alleged that the man was able to escape after several days of captivity.
“We understand the skepticism toward the claim but his injuries and all the allegations are well documented,” said the man’s attorney, Keith Ward.
The lawsuit alleges negligence, breach of contract and outrage and seeks damages exceeding $75,000.
The church declined to discuss specifics about the case in a statement to the Tulsa World.
“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 statement said. “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.”