Shahid Shafi, a surgeon and city council member in Southlake, Texas, self-identifies as a Republican. He believes in small government, a secure border, and lower taxes. He also practices Islam.
Unfortunately, a small group within the Tarrant County Republican Party has taken issue with Shafi’s choice of religion and has moved to have him ousted from his post, reports CNN.
Last July, Shahid Shafi was appointed the vice chairman of the county GOP and received widespread support from the Tarrant County Republican Party’s executive committee. Still, a single dissenter has taken it upon himself to put together a motion to remove Shafi from his position as vice chairman.
CNN reports that the dissenter in question is Dorrie O’Brien. Taking to social media, O’Brien has voiced her concerns on Facebook, explaining how she doesn’t believe a practicing Muslim would be suitable to represent Republicans in Tarrant County.
“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,” O’Brien wrote on Facebook.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 10, 2019
Despite O’Brien’s attempt to have Shafi removed from his position, Texas Republicans from all over have rallied to support him leading up to the vote, which is expected to take place later today.
U.S Senator and former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz spoke out on Twitter, condemning any move to discriminate against Shahid Shafi because of his religious beliefs.
Discrimination against Dr. Shafi b/c he’s Muslim is wrong. The Constitution prohibits any religious test for public office & the First Amendment protects religious liberty for every faith. The Party of Lincoln should welcome everybody & celebrate Liberty. https://t.co/Z16lst3SJN
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 7, 2018
George P. Bush, grandson of the late George H.W. Bush and the Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, also voiced his opinion on Twitter, urging voters to keep Shafi in office.
I again urge my friends in the Tarrant County Republican Party to do the right thing and vote to support Shahid Shafi as vice chairman of the party. Religious litmus tests are wrong–whether they occur in my party or whether its Democratic Senators who have questioned https://t.co/3dpWgxl6kz
— George P. Bush (@georgepbush) January 9, 2019
Shafi, who represents constituents in the Fort Worth suburb of Southlake, has denied claims that he is in favor of Shariah law. Before becoming a U.S. citizen in 2009, Shafi was raised in Pakistan and was born in India.
In an open letter posted to the official website of the tenth district of the Texas Senate, Shafi expressed his confidence in the Tarrant County GOP and warned readers about the dangers of hate, fear, and exclusion.
“A nation divided by hate and fear makes us weaker, and our enemies stronger,” Shafi wrote. “It is through inclusion, and not exclusion, that we will be able to build strong communities, where neighbors trust and protect each other, and our enemies cannot find refuge.”