Update Jan. 10: Southlake trauma surgeon Shahid Shafi, MD, will retain his position as vice chairman of the Tarrant County Republican Party after a failed attempt to vote him out of the position because he is Muslim.
Dr. Shafi, who is also a Southlake City Council member, came to the United States in 1990 and became a nationalized citizen in 2009, according to the Texas Tribune. He has been a Texas Medical Association and Tarrant County Medical Society member for 12 years.
After Thursday's vote, Dr. Shafi told the Texas Tribune he holds no ill will toward his critics, who claimed Dr. Shafi's religion prevents him from being a loyal American.
"We need to learn to trust each other so we can create a more perfect union everyday," he said, according to the newspaper.
Original story: Organized medicine this week rose to the defense of a Fort Worth-area surgeon whose civic service is being threatened because of his Muslim faith.
Shahid Shafi, MD, of Southlake, is vice chairman of the Tarrant County Republican Party. Republican activists in the county are pushing to oust Dr. Shafi from his post at a Jan. 10 meeting of the Tarrant GOP’s executive committee. His critics claim that Dr. Shafi’s religion prevents him from being a loyal American.
“Just as we reject discrimination of all kinds in our profession and in our practices, we urge you and the party’s executive committee to reject discrimination against Dr. Shafi because of his faith,” leaders of the Texas Medical Association, Tarrant County Medical Society (TCMS), and TEXPAC wrote Monday in a letter to Darl Easton, chairman of the county party. “Prejudice and discrimination are anti-American and anti-Texan, and contrary to the ethical precepts of medicine.”
Dr. Shafi has been a TMA and TCMS member for 12 years. The other six surgeons in the Surgical Group of North Texas are also members.
“Our Code of Medical Ethics directs physicians to both ‘respect the law’ and to seek changes in those laws that ‘are contrary to the best interests of the patients,’” TMA President Doug Curran, MD; TCMS President Linda Siy, MD; and TEXPAC Board Chair Robert Rogers, MD, wrote to Mr. Easton.
“We are proud of Dr. Shafi, a naturalized American citizen, for taking this directive to heart with his service on the Southlake City Council and the Tarrant County Republican Party. He joins eight Texas physicians — all Republicans, by the way — in the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress, and countless more in city and county government, on school boards, and volunteer local leaders of both parties,” the letter says.
Since mid-summer, some Tarrant County Republicans have been pushing for Dr. Shafi’s ouster because of his religion.
“Dr. Shafi is a practicing, Mosque-attending Muslim who claims not to follow sharia law or know what it is,” Republican Sara Legvold wrote in a post on the Protect Texas Facebook page. “As a practicing Muslim that is an overt falsehood. Sharia law is anathema to our Constitution because Islam recognizes no other law but sharia.”
Numerous Republican leaders and organizations are supporting Dr. Shafi. They include Mr. Easton, who appointed him party vice chairman, the State Republican Executive Committee, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, and outgoing Texas House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio.