According to a tweet, the CEO has offered to help the Syrian eatery — which shuttered after receiving “hate messages” and “death threats” — to reopen.
Soufi’s made the choice to close permanently in order to maintain the safety of family and staff.
“Canada is known for its diversity and tolerance. Hate messages and death threats sent to refugee immigrants is absolutely unacceptable. Newcomers have endured degrees of trauma already, and don’t need to experience more of it,” Fakih’s post on Facebook reads.
“They are here to build a better life for themselves and are creating job opportunities for other Canadians. The extra legal funds needed to defend their rights is unnecessary and burdens them with another challenge. We need to keep Canada welcoming and collectively stand up against hate towards everyone.”
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Last week, a protest outside of an event featuring the People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier saw demonstrators becoming violent, with some being taken away in handcuffs.
Protestors blocked an 85-year-old woman with a walker from entering the event, reportedly calling her a “racist” and a “Nazi,” according to the CBC. An apology posted to Soufi’s now-deleted Facebook page indicated that one of those protestors was a family member.
“We would like to formally apologize for the unfortunate incident that occurred with the elderly woman,” the post read. “Alaa regrets that he did not step aside and/or stand up against the act of verbal abuse.”
According to this Instagram announcement, the restaurant has been receiving hate messages and death threats since.
“We will cherish the countless memories of us sharing stories, food, music and laughter,” the post reads.
The story of the closure has reached as far as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who tweeted that there is no place in Canada for hatred, and threats of violence.
Hatred and threats of violence have no place in Canada. We are always stronger together than when we’re divided. https://t.co/vnGmX1vts9
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 9, 2019
A statement from Rob Sysak, the Neighbourhood Director of the West Queen West BIA, shares that he feels the fabric of the neighbourhood has been wounded by the death threats against Soufi’s.
He, whose parents are immigrants themselves, shared that he wants to keep the elements in place that have make West Queen West such a thriving neighbourhood.