The Republican Party chair hailed the decision to keep Shahid Shafi, a trauma surgeon and city council member who was appointed to be one of the vice chairs of the Tarrant County GOP.
An India-born Republican leader in Texas named Shahid Shafi is likely to be removed as the party's vice chairman for "being a Muslim" for allegedly preferring Islamic law over USA law, according to media reports.
Tarrant County Republicans are set to vote on whether to remove Dr. Shahid Shafi from his position as the county party's vice chairman after a group of people complained about his religious beliefs.
"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 USA, in Tarrant County, and in the TCGOP, and there are big questions surrounding exactly where Dr. Shafi's loyalties lie, vis a vis Democrat and Republican policies", O'Brien wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.
Mr Shafi has also denied the allegations. "And unfortunately, I don't think it will be the last either".
Mr Shafi, born in India and raised in Pakistan, travelled to the United States to study medicine.
"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.
"Here are the facts".
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. He also asserted that he supports the USA courts and systems of law and that he has never promoted Sharia law.
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"Today we removed all doubts as to what we are and what we believe in as conservatives and Republicans and I will take that message back to Tarrant County", he said, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
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. Ted Cruz and Texas land commissioner George P. Bush, who have condemned the religious discrimination that they see at hand in this case.
Still, Darl Easton, the Tarrant County GOP Chairman who appointed Shafi to his role, is standing behind his pick. Some have even speculated that the ouster of Shafi could drain fundraising efforts and jeopardize the party's 2020 campaign. "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".
It's unclear whether Thursday's vote will happen in public, behind closed doors or be delayed indefinitely, Easton said. The infighting has threatened the local party's funding, as some donors chose to withhold contributions to the party's Lincoln Day Dinner until after the result of Thursday's vote.
Despite the push from some in the Tarrant County GOP, Shafi has gotten support from more prominent Republicans, including Texas Sen.
"It's just outrageous that we are doing this", he said.
"When it came time to appoint vice chairs, it was kind of an automatic choice", Easton said.
"As long as someone is a USA citizen, has obeyed the laws of the country, paid their taxes and so forth, they have an equal right to be involved in city, county, state or national government", Easton said.
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