Republicans want to oust doctor from leadership role because he’s Muslim

28th Dec 2018

Aqila Mumthaz

Republicans in Texas wanted to remove their Vice Chair, Dr Shahid Shafi, a Tarrant County official because he is a Muslim.

Dorrie O’Brien, Tarrant County Republican Party Precinct Chairwoman in Grand Prairie, claimed Shafi was associated with terrorist-affiliated groups, in comments to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper. “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 Shariah law, which is completely antithetical to our way of life,” she said.

Tarrant County Grand Old Party (GOP) activist Sara Legvold wrote on the Protect Texas Facebook page in calling for his removal. “Dr Shafi is a practising,

Mosque-attending Muslim who claims not to follow Shariah law or know what it is, as a practising Muslim that is an overt falsehood.

Shariah law is anathema to our Constitution because Islam recognises no other law but Shariah, as the most conservative county in the nation, this is a demoralising blow to the conservative rank and file of the Republican Party across the nation and in Texas,” she wrote.

Republican Land Commissioner George P Bush tweeted his support for Shafi on November 30.

“I urge the Tarrant County GOP to stop this attempt to remove a hard working county party official based on religious beliefs. We must move towards a more inclusive Republican Party and stop tearing down our own if we are to keep Texas red,” he wrote.

Shafi said that he’s not associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, nor the Council on American-Islamic Relations, “nor any terrorist organisation.” He also said that he’s not only dedicated to American laws but also to GOP values, and has never promoted Shariah law.

Shafi, a trauma surgeon and twice-elected member of the Southlake City Council, was born in India and raised in Pakistan.

He came to the United States in 1990 to finish his medical degree and surgical residencies before becoming a naturalized citizen in 2009. He soon joined the Republican Party.

He told the Washington Post that he saw public office as merely an extension of his mission as a surgeon, with the difference being the opportunity to help hundreds or thousands rather than one patient at a time.
“This is my way of giving back to the community that has given me so much,” he said.

On December 1 Shafi travelled to the State GOP meeting to answer any questions from those voting on the religious freedom resolution. To his delight, he did not have to try to convince them that he was just a regular Republican, free of terrorist ties and the meeting instead focused on lowering property taxes and improving school safety.

The State Party’s Executive Committee then passed a motion by a commanding 63-0 that “affirms and supports every American’s right to practice their religion” and noted that Shafi “demonstrates through deed and voice his dedication and servant leadership to Republicans in his community and beyond.”

The American-Statesman reported that Shafi told the room, “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to speak fully without breaking down.”

He continued to say that “there were moments of doubt” in his mind for the past six months, as he feared that his own local party may actually oust him.

The easiest thing he could have done, he told The Post, was resign.

But he didn’t want to, believing it would signal a loss for religious freedom.
“The reason I have stayed on is because the issue before the party is not about who the Vice Chair should be. It’s much more fundamental than that,” Shafi said.

“It is about religious freedom, and if we are going to have a test of religion in the party, where will we stop? If Muslim Americans are not welcome in the GOP, who will be excluded next? he asked.

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