ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
54°
Clear
H 62° L 42°
  • cloudy-day
    54°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 62° L 42°
  • clear-night
    54°
    Evening
    Clear. H 62° L 42°
  • clear-night
    43°
    Morning
    Clear. H 67° L 48°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Local Texas GOP rejects outing vice chair over his faith
Close

Local Texas GOP rejects outing vice chair over his faith

Local Texas GOP rejects outing vice chair over his faith
Photo Credit: TCRP
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2018, file photo, Dr. Shahid Shafi, speaks before members of the State Republican Executive Committee, following a vote in favor of resolution that opposes an effort by the Tarrant County Republican Party (TCRP) to remove him as vice chair because of his religion, during the committee's quarterly meeting on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Austin. (Amanda Voisard/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Local Texas GOP rejects outing vice chair over his faith

Republicans in one of the most populous counties in Texas voted Thursday to keep a Muslim doctor as their party vice chairman following infighting over some members' claims about his beliefs.

The executive committee of the Tarrant County Republican Party voted 139-49 to reject the effort to purge Shahid Shafi, a surgeon and City Council member in suburban Fort Worth.

"This vote reaffirms the commitment by a majority of Tarrant County Republicans to our core values and moral compass, a demonstration of our allegiance to the Texas Republican Party Platform and the Constitutions of the United States and Texas, which strictly prohibit religious and racial discrimination of any kind," Tarrant County Republican Party Chair Darl Easton said in a written statement.

"While tonight's vote brings an end to this unfortunate episode, it also demonstrates we are a party that respects the right of those who disagree on an issue to have a seat at the table and their voices heard," according to the statement. "Religious liberty won tonight and while that makes a great day for the Republican Party of Tarrant County, that victory also serves notice that we have much work to do unifying our party."

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported at least one precinct chair, Arlington Republican Dale Attebery, was said have to tossed his ID at the lecturn after the vote. Easton said he accepted that as Attebery's resignation.

Shafi told reporters that his faith in Tarrant County Republicans had been reaffirmed.

"As we struggled through the last few months, it would have been easy for me to quit. But I stayed on to fight," he said. "We were fighting for religious freedom ... and today we have come out victorious."

The Thursday vote result took a stand "against bigotry of all kinds," he said. "Our union is a little more perfect today."

A party precinct chairwoman, Dorrie O'Brien, had led the call to oust Shafi on claims that he may be more loyal to Islamic law or connected to a terrorist group. Shafi denied both claims and other Republicans have called them bigoted.

"Religious freedom is at the core of who we are as a nation and state," Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Wednesday, "and attacks on Dr. Shafi because of his faith are contrary to this guiding principle."

Other top Republicans, such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Land Commissioner George P. Bush, also had condemned the effort to oust him.

Cruz tweeted at one point that discriminating against Shafi because of his religion was "wrong." The First Amendment protects religious liberty for every faith, Cruz said on Twitter.

Former Tarrant County GOP leader William Busby earlier told 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."

Shafi is one of two party vice chairmen and has worked for the party for about 10 years, including as a delegate to the state party convention. He's serving a two-year term as vice chairman and his election in July drew one lone dissenting vote among the approximately 250 precinct chairmen who voted that day. That lone dissenter was O'Brien.

A handful of others have joined her in opposing Shafi. O'Brien did not respond to a request for comment by The Associated Press.

Her call to reconsider Shafi's appointment gained traction with some party members after Tarrant County turned blue in the U.S. Senate race in November.

The State Republican Executive Committee in Austin responded to the move by passing a resolution recently that stressed Republican members across Texas have the "freedom to practice all faiths."

"I heard from a few people that if Shafi is removed they'll resign," said Brian Bledsoe, a Tarrant County GOP precinct chairman. "I don't know how serious they were about it, though. Regardless of the outcome, hopefully this Thursday will be the end of all of this."

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced Tuesday that she plans to run for president in the 2020 race for the White House. >> Read more trending news The New York Democrat said in an appearance Tuesday on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that she was filing the paperwork necessary to launch an exploratory committee, which would enable her to raise money for a White House run. “I'm going to run as president of the United States because, as a young mom, I'm going to fight for other people's kids as hard as I would fight for my own,” she said Tuesday. Here are some things to know about Gillibrand: Gillibrand was born Dec. 9, 1966, in Albany, New York. She attended the Academy of Holy Names, an all-girls Catholic school in Albany, before graduating in 1984 from the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York. She graduated from Dartmouth College magna cum laude in 1988 and earned her law degree from the UCLA School of Law in 1991. She worked as an attorney for more than a decade before being elected to represented New York in the U.S. House of Representatives. She represented the state's 20th congressional district in the House until 2009. After President Barack Obama was elected to office in 2008, he chose former first lady Hillary Clinton, who at the time represent New York in the U.S. Senate, to serve as his secretary of state. Gillibrand was chosen to replace Clinton, The New York Times reported. She went on to win the seat when voters went to the polls in 2010. Gillibrand has butted heads with President Donald Trump before over allegations of sexual assault, which Trump has denied. In December 2017, Trump took to social media to call Gillibrand 'a total flunky' who 'would do anything' for campaign contributions. Gillibrand criticized the president's response, calling it 'a sexist smear.' Gillibrand lives in Brunswick, New York, with her husband of 18 years, Jonathan Gillibrand, and their sons, Theodore, 15 and Henry, 10.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is welcoming back K9 Officer Jeremy Mason, nearly 18 months after he was shot in the face while chasing a robbery and carjacking suspect. The shooting happened in July 2017, when police were called to 103rd Street and Old Middleburg Road, after community tips led them to believe a bank robbery suspect was in that area. Police say that suspect- since identified as 28-year-old Michael Harris- carjacked and kidnapped a woman there by getting in her car and forcing her to drive off. JSO says Mason was shot in the ensuing chase, but continued to pursue the suspect. The suspect vehicle got in a crash with a civilian car, and Mason and a detective ultimately fatally shot Harris when he refused to disarm, according to police. Mason has undergone 12 surgeries through his recovery, according to JSO. Today marks the first day back on the job for Mason and K9 Echo.
  • With a partial government shutdown showing no signs of being resolved, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday basically ‘disinvited’ President Donald Trump from a scheduled January 29 State of the Union Address, saying that the Secret Service and Homeland Security Department should not be tasked with such a major event while they are in a shutdown status. “Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened,” Pelosi wrote in a letter sent to the President on Wednesday morning. There was no immediate reaction from the White House or the President. The President gives the State of the Union at the invitation of the Congress, as the House and Senate must agree to use the House chamber for such an event. The reaction in Congress split down party lines. “It is very ironic that Democrats reference security concerns in their latest grandstanding tactic, delaying the State of the Union, but will not address the security concerns that are creating a humanitarian crisis at the border,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN). “We know the state of our union,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), as Democrats said there should be no speech from the President while the partial shutdown continues. In an interview with NBC News, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the President had been “disinvited” by Pelosi.
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump on Wednesday to postpone his State of the Union address as the partial government shutdown that started Dec. 22 continues. >> Read more trending news Earlier this month, Pelosi invited Trump to deliver the annual State of the Union address on Jan. 29. However, the California Democrat said Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service -- the agency tasked with coordinating and implementing security for certain special events, including the State of the Union address -- have not been paid for 26 days. >> State of the Union 2019: What day, what time, who will be there? “Given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi said. Pelosi noted that State of the Union addresses were routinely brought to Congress in writing up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson in 1913. >> Who is Nancy Pelosi? California Democrat elected as House speaker 'Since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal Year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown,' Pelosi said. Several federal agencies have been closed and thousands of government employees have been compelled to wok without pay since last month, when lawmakers failed to approve of a budget to keep the federal government running. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Coast Guard misses paychecks as partial shutdown reaches Day 25 At issue is funding for a proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that Democrats have opposed. Trump has signaled that he’ll refuse to sign any budget passed by lawmakers that fails to include $5.7 billion to build the wall.
  • Police in California are hoping the public can help them identify a toddler found dead nearly 15 years ago. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's 'Help ID Me' page, hikers discovered the remains of the boy, known as 'Baby Doe,' in May 2004 near the Rancho Bernardo Community Park in San Diego. >> Read more trending news  'The remains were found by two hikers who noticed a green padded winter-type coat lying over a green and white duffel bag,' read the Facebook post shared Tuesday. 'When they removed the coat and looked in the bag, they saw a human skull and bones.' The 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-year-old boy likely died at least a year before he was discovered, authorities said. He had been 'wearing red warm-up pants, gray-tan socks, a blue vest and two sweatshirts,' the Facebook post said. Investigators also released sketches of what the child may have looked like. >> See the images here Forensic tests showed that the boy's mother 'likely spent time in the Southeast while pregnant and may have lived in Texas shortly after the child was born before ultimately moving to the southern California area,' the post said. >> Watch the video here If you have information about the case, please call 1-800-THE-LOST.

The Latest News Videos