Tarrant County GOP To Vote On Whether To Remove Muslim Vice Chair

Alan Scaia
January 10, 2019 - 7:33 am
Dr. Shahid Shafi

FORT WORTH (1080 KRLD) - Tarrant County Republicans will vote Thursday night whether to remove their vice chairman.

Dr. Shahid Shafi was appointed last year and is Muslim. A group of Tarrant County Republicans put forward the motion to remove Shafi, saying he does not represent the values of all Republicans in the county.

"My understanding is he is a devout Muslim," says Precinct Chair James Trimm. "As a devout Muslim, he must believe in Sharia Law."

Another precinct chair, Dorrie O'Brien, posted a message on Facebook defending calls to remove Shafi.

"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.," she wrote. "There are big questions surrounding exactly where Dr. Shafi’s loyalties lie, vis a vis Democrat and Republican policies.”​

Shafi has responded with an open letter.

"I have never had any association with the Muslim Brotherhood nor CAIR nor any terrorist organization," he says. "I believe that the laws of our nation are our Constitution and the laws passed by our elected legislatures -- I have never promoted any form of Sharia Law."

Shafi is a Southlake City Councilman and trauma surgeon. He came to the United States in 1990 and became a citizen in 2009.

County Judge Glen Whitley, Sheriff Bill Waybourn and Republican commissioners signed a letter supporting Shafi. Other leaders of the Tarrant County Republican Party say the members who want to remove Shafi represent a small part of the organization.

"They are the people who end up getting the attention because that's negative press and what everybody wants to run with," says William Busby, a precinct chair in Arlington. "You're hurting the party for fundraising, you're hurting the party for the 2020 elections, you're hurting the party for future generations."

Busby says a push to remove Shafi will drive young people away from the Republican Party.

"People who are in their early 20s and teens who are starting to vote don't want to be part of a party that is excluding people just because of their religion," he says. "The people behind this movement have a very archaic way of thinking. Times change. You have to adapt."

Governor Greg Abbott has also voiced support for Shafi, releasing a statement reading, "“The promise of freedom of religion is guaranteed by the first amendment in the Constitution."