ALEXANDRIA, VA - Omar-Khalid Akram moved from Iraq to the United States in October 2008. He told TBNN, "I love my homeland, but I needed to get away from the difficulty there. Although the violence has subsided, the country is still in shambles as far as infrastructure is concerned. I decided to move here and start a new life."
Akram, a widower, moved to the Washington, D.C. area because of the large Muslim population. However, he did not realize he was also moving into the northern reaches of where Southern Baptists live. This is where the trouble began.
After moving into a subdivision, Akram quickly found out that he had no Islamic neighbors. Also, the nearest mosque was a 35 minute trip away. He felt alone and isolated.
After about a month of loneliness, Akram heard a knock on his door. When he opened it, Terry Davis was standing on the other side. Neither man would ever be the same.
Terry, a Southern Baptist deacon and Sunday School teacher, also happens to be Akram's next door neighbor. Terry introduced himself and asked if he could help Akram in any way. Terry also invited Akram to attend his SBC church the next day. Akram was so lonely (and curious) that he accepted the invitation.
Little did Akram know that after the Sunday morning service, all the folks at the church were having a potluck dinner.
When Akram followed Terry through the food line, he faced a problem. He could not tell what any of the food actually was. He had never seen so many casseroles before. He had no idea what was under each mysterious covering. Also, Akram could not decipher what the different vegetables were.
The end came when Akram took his first few bites. Bystander Phil Vickers describes it this way, "Akram smiled at us and said that he enjoyed the service and fellowship. He then told us how much he was enjoying the food. After a few minutes, he asked what he was eating. When we told him his plate was full of Aunt Mildred's pork-barbecue special and Susy's green beans with a ham-hock, Akram turned red in the face and ran from the room."
Ever since, Akram has refused to even open the door to Terry or anyone else from the church.
Akram also contacted the press soon after his visit to the church. He told the local CNN affiliate, "I am a faithful Muslim. I love Allah and serve him in all I do. I was invited to a church, and out of curiosity I attended. That is where I was more insulted than I have ever been. Those Christians confused me by serving all sorts of disguised food. I tried to be polite and eat some of it. I later found out that I had eaten pork and ham, which Allah forbids."
Akram continued, "From this time forward, I declare jihad on Southern Baptist potluck meals. The government should require Baptist churches to label all their food so people like me do not eat something forbidden. If this does not happen, I will have to take things into my own hands."
Akram did not elaborate on what he meant.