Syrian family opens famed restaurant in Toronto, closes after death threats against anti-fascist sons

Syrian family opens famed restaurant in Toronto, closes after death threats against anti-fascist sons
3 min read
09 October, 2019
Soufi's restaurant in Toronto has permanently closed after the Syrian family who owned it received death threats for their sons participation in an Antifa protest.
Syrian restaurant Soufi's in Toronto has permanently closed [Twitter]
Famed Syrian restaurant Soufi's in Toronto, Canada has permanently closed as a result of receiving "numerous hate messages and death threats".

The family who owned the restaurant received death threats after their son was identified as a participant in an Antifa (anti-fascist) rally.

The famous restaurant, which was profiled in the New York Times two years earlier as "Canada's embrace of the Syrian refugees", announced the closure with a sign on the shop front.

"As a result of numerous hate messages and death threts we've received over the past week, we've decided to permanently lose our shop. Our decision is made with a heavy heart in effort to maintain our family and staff's safety," the message read.

It was signed off: "With love, The Alsoufi Family."  

Ardent fans of the restaurant left flowers and a sign that reads "I'm so sorry to hear the awful news", outside the restaurant.

The Al-Soufi family arrived in Canada as Syrian refugees in 2015 and successful opened Soufi's in 2017.

The family received numerous death threats after Alaa Al-Soufi was filmed participating in an anti-fascist protest outside a People's Party of Canada (PPC) rally in Hamilton on September 29.

He was idenitifed in the video by PPC supporters.

The video, in which Alaa is wearing a face mask, shows Antifa protestors chanting "Nazi scum off our streets" and blocking an eldery couple from entering the rally where party founder Maxime Bernier was set to speak.

Bernier is a conservative politician and leader of the right-wing, anti-immigration PPC.

"We would like to reiterate that our son Alaa regrets the incident that occured in Hamilton this past weekend," said Neethan Shan from the Urban Alliance on Race Relations on behalf of the Al-Soufi family.

"That said, he did not in any way verbally or physically assault the elderly woman and has nonetheless offered to apologise personally for not doing more," he added as he addressed the media outside Soufis.

Countless people expressed their sadness at the closing of the restaurant on social media.

"Really sorry to hear this lovely restaurant run by Syrian refugees is closing in such horrible circumstances," tweeted civil litigator Charlotte M.

In-depth: Syrian refugees find food solace in South Africa

"They're getting death treats because their son took a stand against facism. Soufi was such a welcoming space. Sad this city has not been that to this family."

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