A group of Tarrant County Republicans will vote Thursday evening on whether to remove Shahid Shafi as vice-chairman of the county party after a small faction of members put forth a formal motion to oust him from his position because he’s Muslim, reports Newsweek.
Dorrie O’Brien, a precinct chair, expressed fear that Shafi, a trauma surgeon and Southlake City councilman, would uphold Islamic law over the U.S. Constitution and that he might be related “to Islamic terror groups.”
“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,” O’Brien wrote on Facebook. “There are big questions surrounding exactly where Dr. Shafi’s loyalties lie, vis a vis Democrat and Republican policies.”
James Scott Trimm, another precinct chair, wrote that he would vote against Shafi “because I don’t believe he shares the ideology of our party platform. Shafi wants to be Vice Chair because he doesn’t believe ideology matters!”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has spoken out in support of Shafi, who says he identifies as Republican because of his firm belief in small government, lower taxes and secure borders.
“Religious freedom is at the core of who we are as a nation and state, and attacks on Dr. Shafi because of his faith are contrary to this guiding principle,” he wrote in a statement.
Tarrant County Republican party chairman Darl Easton told Newsweek that Thursday’s vote is still up in the air.
“It’s who shows up tomorrow,” he said. “It’s a guess. It’s not a mandatory meeting and so many people won’t show up. We only have a 25 percent quorum.” There are 270 precinct chairs in the county, each chair has one vote.
“I proposed a rule change to incorporate the Republican Party of Texas rules which prohibit discrimination, it did not pass,” said Easton, who appointed Shafi.
“This is, unfortunately, not the first time that people or my political opponents have tried to use my religion against me to distract the voters,” Shafi explained to The Washington Post. “And unfortunately, I don’t think it will be the last, either.”
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper told Newsweek that this sort of discrimination is “representative of what’s going on with the right wing.” The majority of anti-Muslim rhetoric and policy proposals “are coming from the right,” he said.
“We’ve seen an unfortunate spike in anti-Muslim rhetoric and incidents in the Trump-era because he enables people,” said Hooper. “At some point, the Republicans have to police their own ranks. Will they be okay with somebody being ejected from their party solely on the basis of faith? If they’re okay with that, it says something about them. It’s un-American and it’s unjust.”