SOUTHLAKE — Dr. Shahid Shafi is a lot of things: surgeon, U.S. citizen, husband, father, town councilman and Muslim.
He never expected his faith to suddenly become an issue, even if it's only one with a small contingent in the Tarrant County Republican Party.
Yet after a few months of innuendo and rumors, he can't sit back quietly anymore.
"It's portraying our party in a way that is completely false," Shafi said. "We're talking about a very small number of people who exist on the fringes of our party."
One doesn't have to search very long online to find out what the former Parkland trauma surgeon is talking about.
But the doctor himself had remained quiet until recently.
"We're all Americans, with the same right and responsibilities that everyone enjoys," Shafi said. "I've never felt more welcome in the party than right now."
Everyone from US Senator Ted Cruz to Land Commissioner George P. Bush have publicly supported Shafi.
A Tarrant GOP meeting in January will be where precinct chairs and party leadership decide if Shafi should remain in his post. Many have also publicly signaled support.
The doctor hopes to help well into 2019, especially with outreach efforts.
He points out that when he first ran for the Southlake City Council seven years ago, he was told then it wasn't possible for a Muslim to win a political race in Texas after 9/11.
He lost that first race, only to run again and pick up a seat in 2013.
"Only in American is it possible for a brown, Muslim immigrant who speaks with an accent to win the support of his fellow Americans in elected office," Shafi said.