‘It is time we took our party back.’ Some Tarrant Republicans want Muslim leader out
By Anna M. Tinsley
August 21, 2018 02:05 PM
Some Republicans who say it’s time they take “our party back” are pushing to remove a Tarrant County GOP official because he’s Muslim. Posts on social media are calling for Dr. Shahid Shafi to be removed from vice chair of the local Republican party
Some Republicans who say it’s time they take “our party back” are pushing to remove a top Tarrant County GOP official because he’s Muslim.
Posts on social media — and requests sent directly to Tarrant County Republican Party Chairman Darl Easton — are calling for Dr. Shahid Shafi to be removed from the post of vice chair of the local Republican party.
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“Dr. Shafi is a practicing, Mosque-attending muslim who claims not to follow sharia law or know what it is,” Republican Sara Legvold wrote on the Protect Texas Facebook page in calling for Shafi’s removal. “As a practicing muslim that is an overt falsehood. Sharia law is anathema to our Constitution because Islam recognizes no other law but shariah.
“As the most conservative county in the nation, this is a demoralizing blow to the conservative rank and file of the Republican Party across the nation and in Texas.”
Easton — who took office earlier this summer and personally appointed Shafi — is pushing back.
“I think it’s disgusting,” he said when asked about the move to have Shafi removed from the GOP post. “It’s very embarrassing to me that the party is doing this.
“I’m not going to remove him on my own. That’s hypocrisy.”
Nonetheless, a formal request to remove Shafi from the party post might come up at an executive committee meeting in September.
“Please explain to me ... why we need a Muslim in the SREC in Tarrant County! There are no Conservative Muslims or Moderate ones!” Republican Vicky Underhill posted on the Republican Women of Arlington Facebook page.
This move, in one of the reddest counties in Texas, could have a long-lasting impact on the Republican Party.
“The Republican Party is in danger of being seen as intolerant and non-inclusive in a political environment where those ideas are a serious political liability,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “Even if the actions don’t go anywhere, the damage to the party’s reputation, both local and statewide, can linger through November and beyond.
“These are the kinds of actions that go viral and hurt a party’s reputation in Texas and beyond.”