by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A Christian in Iran sent to languish in a remote desert town after a seven-year prison sentence found a warm welcome from local Muslims, according to a new YouTube interview.
Ebrahim Firoozi, a 34-year-old Christian convert originally charged with "crimes against national security," was sent to exile in November to a southwestern Iranian town near the border with Pakistan where the government told him he would be harassed by Islamic extremists.
"I found these people to be very noble," Firoozi told Joseph Hovsepian of Hovsepian Ministries in a new YouTube interview. "The reason people were nice to me wasn't because of my own character of goodness. It was all because of God."
Firoozi related how he had been offered a lighter sentence by an Islamic judge on the condition that he denied his faith.
"I could never turn my back on my faith and submit to this, and by God's grace I encountered a few years in prison in exchange for an eternity with him," he explained.
Hovsepian noted that the decision by Iranian believers like Ebrahim not to flee persecution and seek asylum in other countries was an inspiration to a new generation facing harsh Islamic extremist measures against their faith.
"I have seen that wherever there is persecution, the church grows fast," he said. "The church purifies. The church unites, and the opposite also happens wherever there is no persecution."
Iran is number nine on Open Doors USA's World Watch List for persecution of Christians, but has a flourishing underground church movement.