The owners of a busy and popular Syrian restaurant in Toronto have confirmed that they will be permanently shutting down the business. The closure came about after their family and staff received a steady stream of “hate messages and death threats” over the past week, according to an Instagram post by the restaurant on October 8, 2019.
Soufi’s is a much-loved destination for authentic Syrian cuisine in the Queen West area of Toronto and is owned by a Syrian family who recently immigrated to Canada, according to CTV News. While Soufi’s is a popular business, the owners have confirmed it will be closed indefinitely as of today, as the hate they have recently received has become too much.
The hate started last week when the owner’s son became involved in an incident outside of a fundraiser for Maxime Bernier's People’s Party of Canada fundraiser. In a video that went viral on social media, protesters at the event could be seen harassing an elderly couple, and shouting "Nazi scum" at an 81-year-old woman, said CBC News.
In a public apology on Facebook, Soufi’s confirmed that the owner’s son had been a protester at the event, and noted that he had felt 'regret’ for not stepping aside or standing up for the elderly couple.
In their now-deleted Facebook post, the owners explained, “Our family and business do not condone acts of hate, violence or harassment in any shape or form, and advocate for peace, equality and free speech for all human beings. Our family immigrated to Canada with the intention of living and working peacefully.”
However, it seems that the family’s apology did not end the conflict, as their latest Instagram post suggests the messages of hate just kept on coming.
"As a result of numerous hate messages and death threats we've received over the past week, we've decided to permanently close our shop," their latest Instagram statement reads.
"Our decision is made with a heavy heart in [an] effort to maintain our family and staff's safety."
Narcity has reached out to Soufi's for further information about the restaurant closure but is yet to receive a response.
As a caption to their Instagram post, the restaurant explained, “We do not wish to hide or conceal the events that led to these threats, and wish to share the full story and address claims made by certain media groups in the near future, once it’s safe for us to do so.”
They closed the post by saying, "Since we opened up Soufi's in 2017, we have been met with nothing but curiosity, respect, acceptance, and love from the people of Toronto, and for that we are eternally grateful."
The post concluded, "We will cherish the countless memories of us sharing stories, food, music and laughter."
The upcoming election is making waves across the nation, from heated debates to restaurants closing, we're curious what will happen next.