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Syrian restaurant to reopen in Toronto days after closing over threats

Last Updated Oct 10, 2019 at 9:07 am PDT

Notices of closure are taped to the window of Soufi's restaurant in Toronto on Wednesday, October 10, 2019. The eatery owned by a Syrian family announced yesterday that it is shutting down after receiving death threats, a week after a relative was involved in an incident involving a senior at a Maxime Bernier event in Hamilton on September 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Summary

Popular Syrian restaurant in Toronto will reopen after owners were force to shut down due to hate messages, death threat

Alsoufi family says it didn't want to set precedent for other newcomers, refugees as a business that gave in to hate

Toronto police investigating complaint filed by Alsoufi family, who say they have turned over hundreds of hate messages

TORONTO — A Syrian restaurant in downtown Toronto that closed after its owners said they received hate messages and death threats will reopen on Friday.

The Alsoufi family, which owns the popular restaurant Soufi’s, says it didn’t want to set a precedent for other newcomers and refugees as a business that gave in to hate.

The family will be taking a break from running the restaurant, however, leaving it under new management provided by the Middle Eastern chain Paramount Fine Foods.

Paramount’s CEO says all of the staff who lost their jobs when the restaurant was abruptly shuttered this week will be rehired.

Meanwhile, Toronto police are investigating a complaint filed by the Alsoufi family, who say they have turned over hundreds of hate messages to the force.

The family has said the threats stemmed from a September event featuring People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, which media reports said the family’s eldest son had attended.

The event became a lightning rod for criticism when video footage surfaced showing masked protesters blocking an elderly woman with a walker from entering the Sept. 29 event at Hamilton’s Mohawk College.

Hamilton police said they are investigating but have not laid any charges.

Prior to this, Soufi’s had become popular and was profiled in the New York Times as a success story related to Canada’s acceptance of Syrian refugees.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 10, 2019.