FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Republicans in Tarrant County are scheduled to decide whether to remove a Muslim doctor as a party vice chairman amid infighting over some members’ claims about his beliefs.
A precinct chairman in Tarrant County has led the call to oust Shahid Shafi, a surgeon and City Council member in Southlake. Top Republicans have condemned the effort to oust him, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
Some party members claim Shafi may be more loyal to Islamic law or connected to a terrorist group. Shafi denies both claims, saying he supports the American court system.
Sen. Cruz condemned the party’s decision to vote on the ouster.
“Discrimination against Dr. Shafi because he’s Muslim is wrong. The Constitution prohibits any religious test for public office & the First Amendment protects religious liberty for every faith. The Party of Lincoln should welcome everybody & celebrate Liberty,” said Sen. Cruz in a tweet.
Gov. Greg Abbott also said he supports Shafi and his right to religious freedom, saying the attacks on the vice chairman because of his beliefs goes against that freedom.
Former county GOP leader William Busby tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that some large corporate donors “don’t want to be associated with a party that’s going in the direction of excluding people based upon their religious beliefs.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)