Republicans in one of the most populous counties in Texas voted to keep a Muslim doctor as vice president of the party following the internal struggles for some statements of the members about his convictions.
The Tarrant County Republican Executive Committee voted 139-49 to reject efforts to cleanse Shahid Shafi, a surgeon and city council member in the suburbs of Fort Worth.
"This vote reaffirms the commitment of the majority of Republicans in Tarrant County to our core values and moral compass, a demonstration of our loyalty to the platform of the Republican Party of Texas and to the Constitutions of the United States and Texas, which strictly prohibit all religious and racial discrimination, "said Tarrant County Republican President Darl Easton.
"Religious freedom has won tonight and while that is a big day for the Republican Party of Tarrant County, that victory also serves to note that we have a lot of work to do to unify our party."
La Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that at least one district president, Arlington Republican Dale Attebery, said he threw his ID card to the lectern after the vote. Easton said he accepted Attebery's resignation.
Shafi told reporters that his confidence in the Republicans of Tarrant County had been reiterated.
"While we were struggling in the last few months, it would have been easy for me to quit, I was left to fight," he said. "We were fighting for religious freedom … and today we came out victorious."
A party president, Dorrie O & # 39; Brien, had led the appeal to oust Shafi by claiming to be more loyal to Islamic law or connected to a terrorist group.
Shafi denied both claims and other Republicans called them bigots.
"Religious freedom is at the core of who we are as a nation and state," Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement Wednesday, "and attacks on Dr. Shafi because of his faith are against this guiding principle. "
US Senator Ted Cruz also condemned the effort to oust him.
Cruz tweeted that discriminating Shafi because of his religion was "wrong".