Some Tarrant County Republicans are calling to remove a GOP official for his religion
Disgusted. Embarrassed. Disappointed.
These were among the words many used to describe their reaction this week to an effort by some Republicans to take “our party back” and remove a top Tarrant County Republican official because he’s Muslim.
“Why I left the Republican Party,” Kay Porter tweeted. “Embarrassing.”
The Star-Telegram reported Tuesday that posts on social media — and requests sent directly to Tarrant County Republican Party Chairman Darl Easton — called for Dr. Shahid Shafi, a Southlake councilman, to be removed from the post of vice chairman of the local Republican Party.
“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 — was quick to speak against the effort, calling it disgusting and embarrassing. He has received emails and phone calls from those supporting Shafi.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Tarrant Republicans to reject calls to remove Shafi from office.
“It’s time for GOP leaders to take their party back from the Islamophobes and racists who are dividing our nation on religious, racial, gender, and ethnic lines,” said John Janney, executive director of CAIR-DFW. “Under the Constitution, there can be no religious test for voting, holding public office or for being an American.”
A formal request to remove Shafi from the party post could come up at an executive committee meeting in September or perhaps later in the year.
Legvold shared stories by the Star-Telegram, which was the first to write about her request to remove Shafi from office, and other publications, noting, “I’m in the news!” and “another rag made me their news this afternoon.”
Here’s some reaction from other Republicans:
▪ “I am not a precinct chair and therefore do not have a vote when the executive committee convenes in September,” state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, wrote on Facebook. “But, if I did, I would vote to keep Dr. Shafi in his current position and encourage him to keep up the good work.”
▪ “This kind of bigotry has no place in our party and it, along with several others, is the reason the democrats will eventually come back into power in Texas,” Arlington Republican William Busby posted.
Linda Stumpff of Midlothian wrote to the Tarrant County Republican Party, asking that leaders reject attempts to remove Shafi from office.
“We cannot allow the extremists in our party to be the only voice that is heard in the public forum,” she wrote. “As a patriot and loyal party member, my love of my country stems from our foundation based on religious freedom. Our country was founded on Christian principles — one of the foundational being ‘love thy neighbor.’
“I implore you to not stand by and allow these bigoted extremists to become public spokespersons for our party. “
Democrats weighed in on the issue.
“This is disgusting,” state Rep. Chris Turner, a Grand Prairie Democrat who heads the House Democratic Caucus, wrote. “The intolerance and bigotry in today’s GOP has no place in our politics.”
Democrat Shane Hardin wrote several posts about the story. Among them:
“I cannot believe it ... racist tea party members in North Tarrant County,” he wrote. “The next thing ya know, someone is going to declare that Texas is hot in August as well.”
The Texas Democratic Party issued a statement on Wednesday.
“From the White House to Texas, Republicans in the era of Trump have mainstreamed Islamophobic rhetoric,” said Tariq Thowfeek, a party spokesman. “They have made Muslims in this state feel like no matter what they do, they’re going to be under suspicion and under attack.
“Texas Democrats will not be bystanders to bigotry, keep that in mind over the next 76 days as you choose who to vote for.”