Shahid Shafi stands as somewhat of an outlier in Texas politics. Despite being a Muslim immigrant, he serves as the Vice Chair of the Tarrant County Republicans. For a party that is often seen as mostly white and mostly Christian, this is a sign of inclusivity.
Not all members of the organization, however, welcome Shafi with open arms. Some members of the group have called for a vote to remove him from the organization due to his faith.
Member Dorrie O’Brien is one of the lead proponents of removing Shafi. She says:
“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. There are big questions surrounding exactly where Dr. Shafi’s loyalties lie, vis a vis Democrat and Republican policies.”
Shafi does have many supporters in Texas politics. Ted Cruz, George P. Bush, and Joe Strauss have all come out in his defense.
Daryl Easton, the Tarrant County GOP’s Chairman, explains, “[Shafi’s] very active with the party, but most of the people don’t even care about what he’s done. 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.”
Some Republicans fear this issue could have an effect on fundraising. William Busby, a former member of the Tarrant County GOP, says, “I have heard that several big donors are waiting until after the vote to pledge their support. This (Shafi) story has gained national attention and has put the party in a bad light, all thanks to the actions of a few.”
The vote on whether or not to remove Shafi from his position will take place on Thursday.