RICHLAND HILLS, Texas — Tarrant County GOP leaders voted Thursday night to keep a vice chairman who is Muslim in his post.
Dr. Shahid Shafi, a surgeon and a Southlake City Council member, is a longtime Republican. Following the measure that passed 139 to 49 in a roll call vote, Shafi expressed that this gives him more faith in his party.
The controversial vote was held after a small group of party activists pushed to remove him from his position because he practices Islam. That effort has drawn national attention and has been rebuked by some of the most prominent Republicans in Texas, including Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz and Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
Republican precinct chair Dorrie O'Brien has been the most vocal in attempting to push Shafi out, but she declined to answer questions tonight as she went in for the vote, telling reporters she had no comment. But in multiple, lengthy posts to her Facebook page over months, she has insinuated that Shafi has ties to Islamic terrorism and that as a Muslim, he follows Sharia law, claims that Shafi has vocally denied.
"We don't think he's suitable as a practicing Muslim to be 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," O'Brien wrote in one post to her Facebook page.
There was debate inside the room over whether to have a roll call vote or secret ballot.
This is a developing story and we will be updating throughout. Check back for new information and don't forget to download our free WFAA app to stay up-to-date on all news stories in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.