Shahid Shafi has done nothing more than worship as a Muslim. Darl Easton has done nothing more than elevate Shafi to vice chairman of the local Republican Party.
Those who try to make either one of those gentlemen look as if they’ve done something wrong have, themselves, done something wholly wrong, offensive and, we would argue, un-American.
Led by a few antagonists, Tarrant County Republican precinct leaders Saturday actually considered rescinding Shafi’s appointment as one of two GOP vice chairmen. The debate during a closed session was so pitched that the group ran out of time to vote. Now the matter is set to come to a vote in January, after it festers over the holidays.
Perhaps those opposed to a Muslim — apparently any Muslim — holding a leadership post in their county party should take the Christmas season to reflect on their views.
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There’s no reason to believe Easton either inquired or cared about Shafi’s religious leanings; he had a pretty good fix on Shafi’s political views, though, after years of Shafi’s interest, attendance and activism on behalf of core Republican principles.
One of which, of course, is freedom of religion.
The unprovoked attack on Shafi is a stunning affront to an innocent man and a pervasive religion. While the classy Shafi takes a surgical view of it, ascribing his character assassination to a “small group of closed-minded people,” we can only hope he’s right. But the fact that this disgrace has gone on for months — with no swift resolution, no end to the debate Saturday, and no end in sight — indicates the narrow thinking has wider appeal than anyone would care to admit.
One of the instigators shrugs off the likelihood that the media will “brand” the county GOP as “a bunch of bigots or racists” for kicking Shafi to the curb. In truth, no branding is necessary: The local party will define itself in January, if not before. And it’s certainly rich that someone who wants to label all Muslims “jihadists” who “play in the fields of the lord” is broaching the topic of “branding.”
This is no one else’s doing. This elephantine PR disaster is of the party membership’s own making, though clearly the leadership is trying to do the right thing — at considerable cost, sadly.
This is no less than a battle for the soul of the Tarrant County Republican Party. Good, patriotic conservatives are too often smeared by snooty critics’ caricatures. But this particular coat of tarnish is being applied from within their own ranks.
Forget the party’s meeting schedule. Forget the holiday calendar for now. This can’t wait until January. Party faithful must rise up now against this blanket bias and rescue the Tarrant County Republican Party. There’s a precinct committee chair directory at tarrantgop.org/executivecommittee.
Area Republican elected officials, take note: Your grassroots need tending. You must immediately denounce this toxic spill — and mop it up.
It’s your party. It’s up to you to define it.