A Texas County's GOP Is Split Over the Vice Chair's Muslim Religion

Shahid Shafi identifies as a Republican because he believes in small government.


|||David Walker/Dreamstime.com
David Walker/Dreamstime.com

On Thursday evening, members of the Tarrant County, Texas, Republican Party (TCRP) will vote on whether to give Vice Chair Shaid Shafi the boot. The problem some TCRP members have with Shafi: He's Muslim.

Shafi entered the United States in 1990 and was naturalized in 2009. He is currently a member of the Southlake (Texas) City Council and makes a living as a trauma surgeon. He wrote in an open letter that he identifies as a Republican because he believes in "small government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, religious freedom, school choice, energy independence, rule of law, and secure borders." Shafi also spoke to his own personal record as a council member, reminding others that he voted for lower property taxes in his area.

Due to his experience and commitment, TCRP Chairman Darl Easton appointed Shafi to serve as vice chair in July. However, members like precinct chair Dorrie O'Brien strongly support his ousting over concerns that he supports Islam, Islamic law, or "Islamic terror groups." O'Brien, who has said that her faction has enough votes to prevail, claims that her concerns have nothing to do with Shafi's religion.

Shafi addressed these concerns in his open letter, saying that he's never been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), or any terrorist organization. Furthermore, he specifically listed support for "American Laws for American Courts" as well as "Israel's right to exist."

Since the TCRP's internal drama became public, prominent Republican figures and conservative outlets have disavowed the recall efforts.

"Discrimination against Dr. Shafi [because] he's Muslim is wrong," tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz. "The Constitution prohibits any religious test for public office [and] the First Amendment protects religious liberty for every faith. The Party of Lincoln should welcome everybody [and] celebrate Liberty."

"Religious freedom is at the core of who we are as a nation and state and attacks on Dr. Shafi because of his faith are contrary to this guiding principle," wrote Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, in a statement.

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush also became involved, tweeting, "I urge the Tarrant County GOP to stop this attempt to remove a hardworking 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."

Easton has also criticized the faction against Shafi, saying, "Most of them already have a prejudice against Muslims, and a lot of that comes from the attack on 9/11 and the Shariah law they claim all Muslims must obey." Even though Shafi is an active member of his party, Easton observed, his efforts on behalf of the GOP have gone unrecognized by those seeking to remove him.

Despite the faction against Shafi and Thursday's looming vote, elected Republican officials in the county signed a document in December saying they both support religious liberty and the chairman's appointments. The TCRP shared the affirmation on their Facebook page.

Update: The move to recall Shahid Shafi failed a 49-139 vote.

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  1. God help him if he’s pro-life, then he won’t find a home anywhere.

  2. good lord. no true Texan …

  3. Shahid Shafi identifies as a Republican because he believes in small government.


    1. yeah funny line.

    2. Speak small government but always carry a big wall.

    3. Everyone knows that if you want small government you have to run as a Democrat. Sheesh.

      Well, I guess you could identify as libertarian but then you won’t be elected, so…


      1. Everyone should know that neither Democrats or Republicans are actually “small government”, and as such any stance on “small government” should be irrelevant to which party you support.

        Or to put it another way…

        If you say you like fuchsia, but your choices are pink and orange, then you liking fuchsia can’t reasonably explain your choice of pink or orange.

        1. Some Republicans are for small government, and I support them. That most pay it lip service is obvious. I would support small government Democrats, but they might as well be extinct. At least, they are were I live which is really all that counts.

    4. +1,000,000 !!!!

  4. Good. That’s some weird bullshit if people actually care. Though I’m also guessing this is an awful small faction, having a highly regional fight.

    1. It is, although I will say that the Southern Baptist contingent in strong and they have some curious beliefs when it comes to other religions, up to and including Catholics. It wouldn’t shock me to discover these people are of that persuasion.

      1. Southern Baptist are fucking crazy, so that wouldn’t shock me in the least.

        1. +2 rattlesnakes

        2. Agreed. Literal interpretation of scripture is the least of it.

    2. Tarrant Co. is (was?) a nice place to be on a daily basis too … I don’t know wtf

      1. This really sounds like some weird regional politics to me. It might be a fight over something else, with them choosing his religion as the point to bring to the fight.

        1. This is the same county that had the ‘draw mohamrapist’ contest and blew away the two terrorists that showed up to blow it up. Texans aren’t fooled by the “religion of peace.”

          1. My bad. That was Dallas county, 30 miles away.

  5. And I for one certainly also support Dr. Shafi’s “right to exist”.

    Snark aside his religion is irrelevant. This looks like pure bigotry.

  6. Furthermore, he specifically listed support for “American Laws for American Courts” as well as “Israel’s right to exist.”

    Exactly what a sleeper agent would say.

  7. “He [Shafi] wrote in an open letter that he identifies as a Republican because he believes in ‘small government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, religious freedom, school choice, energy independence, rule of law, and secure borders.'”

    So what’s he still doing in the GOP? They now believe in, at most, half of these things.

  8. This story sounds fishy. Incomplete maybe?

    I have a hard time believing that a nest of racists/bigots/homophobes/transphobes/etc exists anywhere except in the fevered minds of progressives. The majority of the city council just hates Muslims and are persecuting the good doctor because he is Muslim? Really?

    1. From the article:

      “”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 in the U.S., in Tarrant County, and in the TCGOP,” O’Brien recently posted on Facebook. “There are big questions surrounding exactly where Dr. Shafi’s loyalties lie.””

    2. We could have another draw mohammed contest and I’m sure we’ll have another headliner showing by the religion of peace.

  9. Iran’s growth has pulled Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf Community Council countries closer to Israel. The combination of that and the Democrat’s insistence on same-sex wedding cakes at the bakeries of religious people and opposition to small businesses citing religious exceptions to opt out of birth control coverage might bring more Muslims to the Republican side.

  10. ” Shahid Shafi identifies as a Republican because he believes in small government.”

    I would be more concerned if I were her for my belief in THE False Prophet,

  11. Watching Republicans fight over how bigoted they should be, and how much they should reveal their bigotry in public, is always great sport.

    1. We should be more Islamic… like Iraq or maybe Iran. You’d take being raped over being not politically correct you cowardice PoS.

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