Syrian restaurant to reopen in Toronto days after closing over threats

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

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.

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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

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