WASHINGTON — The day after U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was heckled at a Christian event aimed at bringing Christians together over the plight of persecution in the Middle East, some speakers at the event addressed the disruption.
Rateb Rabie, president of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, sounded critical of Cruz for his mention of Israel and the event sponsors for the lack of Palestinian Christian voices. Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, appeared to be more critical of those who disrupted the speech while calling for greater unity around the issues that they agree on. They were both on a Thursday morning panel, "Changing Policy Through Awareness and Advocacy," for the In Defense of Christians Inaugural Summit.
"We saw what happens, last night, when you mix your politics with your faith," said Rabie in reference to Cruz's speech.
He also argued that Palestinian Christians can "help unite Jews and Muslims" due to their long history of living in communities with both religious groups.
"Palestinian Christians are part of you, please remember us," Rabie pleaded.
Shea had introduced Cruz the night before and spoke about her "profound" sadness at seeing the group divided during the speech. She urged the attendees to continue to stand together on what unites them.
"We must stand united against the persecutions of other Christians, Ahmadis and other Muslims, Bahá'ís, Buddhists, Hindus and Jews. Everyone has the right to life and to religious freedom. It's inherent in human dignity. We may be divided over the territorial disputes between Israel and Palestine, but we are not here to resolve that," she said.
Correction: September 13, 2014
An article on Saturday, Sept. 13, incorrectly attributed quotes by Rateb Rabie to James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute.
Watch the remarks below: