A number of Republican Party members in Texas are trying to have one of their own pushed from his position for the sole reason that he is Muslim, according to Law & Crime.
Shahid Shafi serves as a party official for the Tarrant County GOP. Shafi is a trauma surgeon and city council member in suburban Southlake, Texas. He’s also a practicing Muslim.
Being a doctor and elected official doesn’t appear to outweigh that third item–Shafi’s Muslim identity. The fact of his chosen religion is apparently none-too-pleasing for a not inconsequential number of Texas Republicans.
Immediately after being elevated to the position of vice-chairman on July 14 of this year, Shafi “began receiving communications opposing the appointment on the basis of [his] religion,” according to theDallas Morning News.
Republican Party Precinct Chair Dorrie O’Brien, also an anti-Muslim activist, has publicly made false claims about Shafi, including that the surgeon advocates sharia law.
In comments to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, O’Brien outlined her issues:
Islam is primarily a political ideology that has advanced historically under its shield of religion; we are questioning Dr. Shafi’s complete dedication to political Islam. We don’t care about the Islamic religion; it is certainly Dr. Shafi’s choice to believe whatever he wants. We do care very much about political Islam with its global jihad to conquer nations and make them Islamic and ruled by Shari’a law, which is completely antithetical to our way of life.
Others have joined in as well, and the effort has taken on characteristics of a full-blown movement.
In an open letter defending himself against the coordinated Islamophobic attacks he noted:
Here are the facts. I have never had any association with the Muslim Brotherhood nor CAIR nor any terrorist organization. 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. I fully support and believe in American Laws for American Courts.
The effort has since drawn the attention of Texas officials, some of whom have come out against the anti-Muslim sentiment within the Tarrant County GOP:
Republican Land Commissioner George P. Bush tweeted his support for Shafi on Friday.
“I urge the Tarrant County GOP to stop this attempt to remove a hardworking county party official based on religious beliefs,” he wrote. “We must move towards a more inclusive Republican Party and stop tearing down our own if we are to keep Texas red.”
Retiring GOP Texas State House Speaker Joe Straus took the criticism even further.
“Some in the Tarrant County Republican Party want to remove a party officer because of his religious faith,” he tweeted. “This effort is disgraceful and un-American.”