Republicans in one of the most populous counties in Texas have voted 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.
"Today, my faith in our party and our country has been reaffirmed," he said on Facebook.
"My fellow Republicans have demonstrated that we remain the party of Lincoln and Reagan, which is open to all Americans, regardless of their religion, caste, creed, color, ethnicity or country of origin."
But he added that the "last several months have been extremely difficult for me and my family".
Tarrant County Republican Party Chair Darl Easton said in a written statement, "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".
"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 lectern after the vote. Easton said he accepted that as Attebery's resignation.
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," Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement on Wednesday, "and attacks on Dr Shafi because of his faith are contrary to this guiding principle."
US Senator Ted Cruz also condemned the effort to oust him.
Cruz tweeted that discriminating against Shafi because of his religion was "wrong."