McAllen man offers $500 for names of 49 people who voted to oust Muslim from Tarrant County GOP leadership

Dr. Shahid Shafi addresses the press after a meeting of the Tarrant County Republican Party rejected an effort to remove him as vice-chairman on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Richland Hills, Texas. (Amanda McCoy/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)

DALLAS — A man is offering a $500 reward to anyone who can provide him with the names of the 49 people who voted last week to remove Tarrant County GOP vice chairman Shahid Shafi from his position.

George Rice, 36, of McAllen is a member of the Hidalgo County Young Republicans. He said he plans to make the list public so people know what their representatives believe.

“The majority of us don’t feel this way,” Rice said. “I can’t stress enough that we’re mostly liberty-minded conservatives — personal freedom trumps everything else.”

Thursday’s vote took place after some precinct chairs and local Republicans pushed for Shafi’s removal on the basis of his Muslim faith. The widely watched vote ended 139-49 in favor of retaining him as vice chairman.

Rice said he was surprised at how many people voted to remove Shafi. He said the leaders of the campaign against Shafi are radicals and outliers and that the outrage against the “49ers” — a nickname for those who voted to remove Shafi — is greater than any support for them.

Shafi, a trauma surgeon from Southlake, was appointed vice chairman by Tarrant County party chairman Darl Easton in July. The push to oust him began soon after, with precinct chairs accusing him of believing in Shariah law and of being tied to terrorist-affiliated groups. Shafi denied those allegations.

As the campaign to oust Shafi grew, so did media coverage, and numerous Republicans began voicing their condemnation of the effort.

After the results were announced, Shafi said the vote reaffirmed his faith in the U.S. and the Republican Party. He emphasized that the party should attempt to move forward, unified, and that he had no animosity toward those who wished to push him out.

But Rice said allowing the issue to be swept under the rug would let people with a “toxic mentality” remain in positions of influence.

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