Cooler heads
January 11, 2019

The Republican Party in the last conservative urban county in Texas, Tarrant County, voted Thursday night not to remove trauma surgeon Shahid Shafi as vice chairman of the county GOP because he is Muslim. The GOP precinct chairs voted against ousting Shafi 139-49 after a months-long campaign by some local party members, starting soon after Shafi was appointed vice chairman in July. "As an immigrant to this great country, I am honored and privileged to receive the support of my fellow Republicans," Shafi said after the vote.

Tarrant County Republican Party Chairman Darl Easton said "religious liberty won tonight," and while the conclusion of "this unfortunate episode" is "great day for the Republican Party of Tarrant County, that victory also serves notice that we have much work to do unifying our party." Former Tarrant County precinct chair Sara Levgold — who is not Muslim but wore a burqa to the meeting to "represent the Islamization of our county, our state, and our country" — disagreed. She complained that Muslims in the workplace "demand they're able to wear their hijab and demand they get a prayer room," adding, "When was the last time a Christian was allowed to have a separate place to say their prayers?"

GOP leaders in Texas had condemned the push to oust Shafi, and Levgold said critics have "said nothing but horrible things about us — that we're bigots and Islamophobes and white supremacists — when we're just patriots who care for our country." Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth, narrowly voted for Democrat Beto O'Rourke over Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in November and flipped several GOP Texas House and Senate seats in the area. Peter Weber

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