Horrifying Tale of Religious Conversion

      (CN) – A Presbyterian church publicized a Muslim’s conversion to Christianity, causing him to be abducted, tortured, stabbed and threatened with death by radical Muslims in his native Syria, the man claims in court.
     John Doe sued First Presbyterian Church of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Rev. James D. Miller, in Tulsa County Court.
     Doe, who was born in Syria and is of Muslim descent, is a U.S. permanent resident and lives in Tulsa County, according to the lawsuit.
     Doe says he has lived in the United States for most of his adult life, and is about to become a U.S. citizen.
     Doe joined First Presbyterian Church, decided to convert to Christianity and discussed his decision with Miller and other church leaders, according to the lawsuit.
     “Converting from Islam carries grave consequences,” the complaint states. “Under Sharia law, one who converts from Islam is to be put to death usually, but not always, by beheading. There are no other alternative punishments for conversion from Islam other than death.
     “Because plaintiff continued to periodically travel to Syria, he knew that any publication or dissemination of his Christian beliefs could pose a danger to his life both in Syria and in the United States. Therefore, in late 2012, plaintiff and the defendants repeatedly discussed the need for his prospective conversion to Christianity to remain strictly confidential. All of the defendants were aware of the potential danger to plaintiff and pledged strict confidentiality. In fact, on Nov. 19, 2012, [nonparty] Mrs. [Marilyn] Slick texted to plaintiff that ‘I will call my pastor today and let you know how we will privately work this out. Nobody will find out. We will make sure that your secret is safe!!'”
     Doe says he agreed to be baptized on Dec. 30, 2012, after the church reassured him that his conversion would remain confidential.
     A week later, while he was in Syria, Doe says, the church published an announcement of his conversion on the Internet, including his name and date of baptism.
     Doe says the church refused to remove the announcement until April 2014, despite knowing the danger it posed to him.
     While in Syria in January 2013, Doe says, he was kidnapped by radical Muslims who claimed they had read about his Christian conversion on the Internet. Although Doe denied having converted, the kidnappers bound and blindfolded him, and told him they would carry out his death sentence for converting from Islam, according to the lawsuit.
     “For several days, plaintiff was bound, beaten, and tortured and forced to spend up to 18 hours a day in a 55-gallon electrified drum,” the complaint states. “Periodically, he would be taken out and his captors tortured him and informed him again that he was to be beheaded. Finally, after several days of being bound, beaten and tortured, plaintiff was, again, taken out to be beheaded. When plaintiff observed that video cameras had been set up to record his beheading, he knew that his death was imminent and was able to free his hands of the ropes that he loosened in the days leading up to his execution. By doing so, plaintiff was able to forcibly take possession of a firearm that one of his captors held and turn it against his captors. In his escape, plaintiff was forced to shoot and to kill his paternal uncle who was among his captors. For doing so, plaintiff is now wanted for the crime of murder in Syria.
     “Although plaintiff was able to escape from his captors, his own cousin later saw him in Damascus and attempted to kill him by stabbing him in the chest when his cousin learned that plaintiff had shot and killed his father. Under Sharia law, it is demanded that retribution be exacted on the plaintiff or a member of his family.
     “Facing death should he be captured and suffering from numerous debilitating injuries he received from his captors, plaintiff was forced to clandestinely escape from Syria before returning to the United States. Since returning to the United States, plaintiff has received numerous death threats and continues to face a death sentence that could be imposed by radical Muslims in the United States at any moment.”
     Doe says he suffered a gunshot wound, numerous knife wounds, nerve damage in his arms and shoulders and other debilitating injuries.
     He says he suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome and lives in constant fear for his life.
     Doe says he can no longer visit his son, who lives in Syria, and can never return to his home or business in his native country.
     He seeks punitive damages for negligence and breach of contract.
     He is represented by G. Steven Stidham with Sneed Lang.
     First Presbyterian Church did not respond to a request for comment.

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