Muslim Vice Chair Shahid Shafi Wins Vote to Stay in Leadership Spot

Tarrant County Republican party leader Shahid Shafi won a vote Thursday night to stay in his leadership position.

The vote was 139-49 in support of keeping Dr. Shafi as vice chair of the County Republican party.

"I am honored," he said following the vote. "Today the beacon of liberty held by the Statue of Liberty is shining brighter."

Some Tarrant County Republicans opposed Shafi, claiming his Muslim beliefs disqualified him from serving.

But Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz and many other elected Republicans decried the effort to oust him as un-American.

Shafi is a surgeon and twice-elected member of the Southlake City Council.

James Trimm, a precinct chair from North Richland Hills, questioned whether, as a Muslim, Shafi is loyal to Israel and the laws of the United States.

"My understanding is he is a devout Muslim and as a devout Muslim, he must believe in Sharia law," Trimm said, adding he opposes Shafi's political beliefs and not his religion.

Asked if the episode was an embarrassment to the Tarrant County Republican party, Shafi said it was just the opposite.

"With today's vote we have sent a clear message across the nation that we continue to believe that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights granted by a higher authority," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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