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Texas county GOP to vote on ousting a party leader because he is Muslim

A Texas county is scheduled to vote tonight on a proposal to remove a county GOP leader from his post because he is Muslim. The Tarrant County Republican Party will decide whether Shahid Shafi, who was appointed vice chairman of the county GOP organization in July, will stay on his job. 

"We don't think he's suitable as a practicing Muslim to be vice 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 in the U.S," Dorrie O'Brien, a member of the GOP's executive committee, said on Facebook.

Shafi, a trauma surgeon, is a U.S. citizen and immigrant from India. Several Republican Party leaders supported him staying in the position and condemned the effort to unseat him. George P. Bush, the Texas land commissioner and the son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, tweeted that he is urging the Republican Party "to do the right thing and vote to support Shahid Shafi." "Religious litmus tests are wrong--whether they occur in my party or whether its Democratic Senators," he wrote.

Dr. Shahid Shafi, vice chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party, speaks at a committee meeting on Dec. 1, 2018, in Austin, Texas. Amanda Voisard, Austin American-Statesman via AP

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, has also tweeted his support for Shafi. "Discrimination against Dr. Shafi b/c he's Muslim is wrong, " Cruz wrote. "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."

Shafi, in an open letter, said he believes in the county GOP's  "fundamental sense of fairness." "A nation divided by hate and fear makes us weaker, and our enemies stronger," he wrote. "It is through inclusion, and not exclusion, that we will be able to build strong communities, where neighbors trust and protect each other, and our enemies cannot find refuge."