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GOP leader in Texas says colleagues are trying to oust him for being Muslim

The Republican Party vice-chairman of Texas’s third largest county said there is a movement to have him removed from his position because he’s Muslim.

Shahid Shafi, a trauma surgeon in Fort Worth, said precinct Chairwoman Dorrie O'Brien is petitioning to have the Tarrant County Republican Party “reconsider” his appointment, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

O’Brien has, without evidence, publicly accused Shafi of promoting Sharia law and being affiliated with terrorist groups.

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She has written on Facebook that Shafi is a “fake Republican” who might have joined the party at the request of the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate the organization, the Post reported.

Shafi has denied all of her allegations and told the newspaper that people have made false allegations against him in the past because of his faith.

“This is, unfortunately, not the first time that people or my political opponents have tried to use my religion against me to distract the voters,” Shafi said. “And unfortunately, I don’t think it will be the last either.”

O’Brien and a small band of supporters have put forward a formal motion to have Shafi stripped of his leadership position. The group will vote on the measure on Jan. 10.

Darl Easton, chairman of the country’s party, said the only reason O’Brien gave for her proposal was Shafi’s faith.

“The only reason she had was because he was a Muslim,” Easton said. “That was the only reason she gave.”

Easton condemned the move, saying that it was an embarrassment to the Republican Party. He said he will support Shafi during the vote and expects most precinct chairmen will do the same. 

The Hill has reached out to the Texas Republican Party for comment.

Other prominent Texas Republicans have spoken out against the issue, including Land Commissioner George P. Bush.

Shafi was born in India, raised in Pakistan and came to the United States in 1990 to complete his medical degree and surgical residencies. He became a naturalized citizen in 2009.

He said he joined the GOP because he believes in a small government, having experienced oppression at the hands of Pakistani leaders.

“This is my way of giving back to the community that has given me so much,” Shafi said.

He said he contemplated resigning from his position over the past six months after his July appointment because he was afraid of being removed. 

“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?"

The state party’s executive committee unanimously passed a “nondiscrimination” resolution over the weekend that affirmed its support of religious liberty within the party.

A member of the Texas Republican Party’s 2018 platform committee came under fire this week after he proudly declared himself a “white nationalist.”