Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of former hostage and Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, has revealed that she and her family came to America as Muslim immigrants and embraced Christianity thanks to the kindness and compassion of those who helped them. Because of this, she urged believers to extend Christ's love to Muslim refugees currently entering the U.S. from Iraq and Syria.
"I was a Muslim immigrant. I left a devastating war between Iran and Iraq. America gave me the freedom to choose Jesus as my Lord and Savior. When we came to America more than 30 years ago, I was treated with love and acceptance by the Christians. I could see the tender heart of Jesus toward foreigners and the lost through the Christians that surrounded us," Abedini wrote in a Facebook post.
"I have parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and my 95-year-old grandmother who all came to America as Muslim immigrants and found Jesus here."
Today, the majority of her relatives in America have completed high levels of education and have high positions in major companies - and many of them still identify as Muslims.
"Others have their own small businesses Including my uncle and my dad who have started small businesses here in Boise that now employ close to a 100 people many of who are refugees from all over the world. This is the America I know and love," she added. "The America that was founded on Christian values of love, Grace and compassion."
Saeed Abedini, a naturalized US citizen, was sentenced by an Iranian court in 2013 to eight years in prison for allegedly compromising Iran's national security by setting up home-based Christian churches there. Abedini was freed in January along with two other American prisoners.
During her husband's time inside the Evin Prison in Iran, Naghmeh campaigned for his freedom and spread awareness regarding his incarceration. She also spoke publicly on the topic of persecution and has in the past urged Christians to refrain from judging others.
Over the past several months, numerous accounts have surfaced of Muslims in the Middle East accepting Christ after witnessing the love and compassion of believers. One Christian missionary working in the Kurdish region of Iraq told Christian Aid Mission that his team can barely keep up with the desire of refugees to learn about Christ and the Bible, which has grown increasingly strong since ISIS overtook many parts of the region.
"They're just sick of Islam," he told the organization last year. "People are very hungry to know about Christ, especially when they hear about miracles, healing, mercy and love."
He added, "As terrifying and horrifying as ISIS is, they did us a great favor because they came and have shown them all the killing, saying that it's all in the Koran verses. So now we don't have to say much, we just say the truth."
However, the topic of Muslim immigration to the U.S. has been hotly debated throughout the U.S. presidential election and among the Christian community.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has called for barring all Muslims from entering the U.S., while presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has announced plans to massively increase admissions without a screening plan, including a 500% increase in Syrian refugees.
In her latest post, Abedini emphasized that she is not trying to make a political statement or imply anything about immigration in her comments, but rather urge Christians to extend love to those around them.
"I am not a politician and not well informed about what is the best way to protect America and Americans. I leave that to the experts. This is not a political statement. Simply saying we have a chance to love those who are here and show them the love of Jesus," she added.