- Republicans in Tarrant County, Texas, overwhelmingly rejected a motion to remove the local party’s vice chair, Dr. Shahid Shafi.
- A handful of precinct chairs opposed Shafi on account of his Muslim faith.
- Shafi received an outpouring of support from Republicans across the state, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
RICHLAND HILLS, TX — The Tarrant County Republican Party overwhelmingly slapped down a motion to strip Dr. Shahid Shafi, a Muslim, from his position as a vice-chair of the party at a contentious meeting Thursday night.
The committee voted 139-49 in favor of Shafi.
A small but vocal minority of the county’s 269 precinct chairs were behind the push to remove Shafi from his leadership position, which garnered national attention in recent weeks from outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Shafi received an outpouring of support from Republicans across the state in the days leading up to the vote, including from Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
“Religious litmus tests are wrong–whether they occur in my party or whether its Democratic Senators who have questioned Catholic judges’ ability to be unbiased,” Bush said in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday. “What matters is a person’s character, judgment and values. Shahid Shafi has all three.”
Shafi was appointed to the position in July with overwhelming support from Republicans in Tarrant County, which is Texas’s third-largest county in terms of population and includes the city of Fort Worth.
A sole precinct chair, Dorrie O’Brien, opposed Shafi at that time and tried to whip up opposition to Shafi in the six months since then.
O’Brien cited the Muslim doctor’s faith as her reason for opposing him in a Dec. 31 Facebook post.
“We don’t think he’s suitable as a practicing Muslim to be vice chair because he’d be the representative for ALL Republicans in Tarrant County, and not ALL Republicans in Tarrant County think Islam is safe or acceptable in the U.S., in Tarrant County, and in the TCGOP, and there are big questions surrounding exactly where Dr. Shafi’s loyalties lie, vis a vis Democrat and Republican policies,” she wrote.
In a Jan. 4 Facebook post, she falsely accused Shafi of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Another precinct chair, James Scott Trimm, wrote Tuesday on Facebook he would vote against Shafi because he “refused to renounce and repudiate” an endorsement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Shafi denied any ties to CAIR.
A strong majority of Texas Republicans, including in Tarrant County, stood with Shafi.
The Texas Young Republicans released a statement ahead of Thursday’s vote declaring their solidarity with the doctor, blaming a “small group of individuals” who “wish to remove him because of his Muslim faith.”
“Dr. Shafi is a man of distinguished character and virtue. He is a staunch conservative, a strong leader, a dedicated Republican, and a proud American. We are proud to stand with Dr. Shafi,” the Texas Young Republicans said.
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