Shahid Shafi is a surgeon, a city councilman in Southlake, Tex., and vice chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party. Recently, a small faction of Tarrant County Republicans tried to remove Mr. Shafi as vice-chairman because of his faith. The group ultimately failed, ending in a 139-49 vote to keep him in place.
In this op-ed for the Washington Post, Mr. Shafi writes about the experience and reflects about his life as an immigrant and as an American. Here are some snippets from his piece:
— Last summer, the Republican Party of Tarrant County, Tex., appointed me as a party vice chair in a nearly unanimous vote. As a longtime party member who has served in other roles, I considered the appointment a true honor. Yet, soon after, a handful of members from the party launched a public effort to remove me from the position — simply because I am Muslim.
— I came of age in Pakistan under a brutal military dictatorship that used religion as an excuse to kidnap, torture and kill its own citizens. The government censored the media and used the police as an instrument of oppression. So when I came to the United States in 1990, I was overjoyed to experience the freedoms my forefathers were denied. I took the oath of citizenship in 2009 and looked for opportunities to serve the public because I wanted to give back to the country that had given me so much.
— In 2011, I decided to run for city council in Southlake, Tex. At the time, many people did not believe that a Muslim American had a chance of winning an election after 9/11. I disagreed with them, because I believed that in our country, it doesn’t matter where you come from, only where you are going. Voters affirmed my faith in the United States twice, once by electing me in 2014 and again by reelecting me in 2017 (when I ran unopposed).
— Regardless of when we arrived in this country, we are all Americans with equal rights and responsibilities. We are all guardians of this nation. And as part of this sacred responsibility, we must overcome our fears and learn to trust each other