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11.01.2019 09:43 News >> Texas County Gop Rejects Move To Oust Muslim Vice-Chair

Texas County Gop Rejects Move To Oust Muslim Vice-Chair

'The Constitution prohibits any religious test for public office,' says Senator Ted Cruz.

A Texas county Republican committee voted Thursday to block a push from a small group of party members to oust a Muslim vice chairman from his post within the party.

Shahid Shafi defied many odds by being appointed to serve as vice chairman of the Republican Party in Tarrant County, the third most populated county in Texas. He initially won a city council seat, serving as a delegate to Texas Republican conventions.

The trauma surgeon accomplished all this while maintaining his Muslim identity, which prompted a small faction within the party to put forth a motion calling for his dismissal.

"I believe in freedom of speech. I believe in freedom of expression, and I think diversity of opinion within any group is good for the group, is good for the party. But what we cannot do, and we don't do, is discriminate against a specific person based on their religion, caste, creed, color or country of origin," Shafi said in an interview with CNN.

"They're doing a disservice to our party. That's not what our party is about."

The movement to oust Shafi was headed by Dorrie O'Brien, the chair of a local precinct, who sees a contradiction with him maintaining his religion while keeping a high-ranking position in the Texas Republican Party.

"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," O'Brien said in a Facebook post. "There are big questions surrounding exactly where Dr. Shafi's loyalties lie, vis a vis Democrat and Republican policies."

On Thursday, the Tarrant County Republican Party overwhelmingly voted in favor of Shafi with a vote of 139-49.

Many Republican leaders came to the defense of the vice chairman, emphasizing the country's foundation of freedom of religion.

"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," Texas Senator Ted Cruz said on Twitter.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott pointed out that "the promise of freedom of religion is guaranteed" under the First Amendment of the Constitution, in a statement obtained by local outlets.

"I salute the Tarrant County Republican Party for re-affirming Shahid Shafi as Vice President of the county GOP. He is a good man who is doing a good job. And we should never allow religious bigotry to play any part in our politics," George P. Bush, Texas Land Commissioner, said in a tweet. -



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