Some Tarrant County Republicans are calling to remove a GOP official for his religion
Mayor Laura Hill added her voice to those supporting Councilman Shahid Shafi, a Southlake surgeon who could lose his leadership post with the Tarrant County Republicans because he’s Muslim.
Hill, speaking Monday during a community meeting to discuss ideas for combating racism and bigotry in the city and schools, said she stands behind Shafi, who attended the meeting to hear residents’ concerns.
Precinct chairs had planned to vote on Saturday on a request by Republican Dorrie O’Brien, who asked for Shafi’s appointment as vice chairman of the party, to be reconsidered. They discussed the issue behind closed doors, but ran out of time. A vote is scheduled for Jan. 10.
“This city is a safe place for him,” Hill said.
Hill organized the meeting, which attracted a standing-room-only crowd of moms and others who gathered to share their ideas and concerns in response to a video on social media showing students from the Carroll school district chanting a racial slur.
Shafi told the audience that he wanted to attend the meeting to listen to their concerns.
He described coming to the United States in the 1990s and how he was ignored when he first approached doctors and others about becoming a surgeon. But he persisted and found people who listened.
He urged everyone to be optimistic and to look for open doors.
“There are good people around. You have to keep knocking on doors until you find them,” he said.
Shafi, who became a U.S. citizen in 2009, described how he was elected to the Southlake City Council despite the “naysayers” who said it couldn’t be done.
“The path is there to follow. It is not an easy path, and it will be harder for those who don’t fit a certain mold, but don’t be disheartened,” he said.