It was confirmed on Tuesday that the popular Toronto-based Syrian restaurant Soufi’s would be closing their doors for good this week, after the owners revealed they had received a steady stream of hate messages and death threats. The emotional Instagram post that confirmed the business would be closing has now reached several of Canada’s major party leaders, who have all taken to social media to speak out on the matter.
The first to comment on the restaurant closure was Justin Trudeau, who retweeted a Twitter post from CBC food writer, Suresh Doss. The Prime Minister added, “Hatred and threats of violence have no place in Canada. We are always stronger together than when we're divided.”
A short while later, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer also shared the same post, adding his own similar message. Scheer wrote, “This is sad news. Threats of violence and intimidation are absolutely unacceptable in Canada.”
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 (@Justin Trudeau)1570584213.0
This is sad news. Threats of violence and intimidation are absolutely unacceptable in Canada. https://t.co/qqaWUZlxo3— Andrew Scheer (@Andrew Scheer)1570588782.0
The messages of hate and death threats sent to the restaurant started last week when the owners confirmed on Facebook that a member of their family had been involved in an incident outside of a People’s Party of Canada fundraiser.
In a video that went viral, protesters at the event could be seen harassing an elderly couple, while shouting “Nazi scum” at an 81-year-old woman.
A since-deleted Facebook post from the Syrian restaurant confirmed that the owner’s son had been one of the protesters in the video, and expressed sincere regret about the situation that occurred.
At the time of the incident, People’s Party of Canada leader, Maxime Bernier, took to Twitter to denounce the actions of the protestors and to reach out to the elderly woman involved. Bernier wrote, “Thank you so much Madam for standing up for free speech! We need courageous people like you if we are to keep our country STRONG and FREE.”
When the messages of hate and death threats failed to cease after their emotional Facebook apology, the Syrian restaurant took to Instagram to say that they would be closing indefinitely, in order to protect their family and staff.
Thank you so much Madam for standing up for free speech! We need courageous people like you if we are to keep our… https://t.co/7FWuPyNQcq— Maxime Bernier (@Maxime Bernier)1569960181.0
When Soufi’s revealed that they would be closing indefinitely, PPC leader Maxime Bernier also took to Twitter to speak out on the matter.
Sharing screenshots of both Trudeau’s and Scheer’s tweets about the restaurant, Bernier wrote, “Unlike Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer, I condemn BOTH the hate and threats directed at this family because of the actions of their son, AND the hate and verbal assault from Antifa thugs directed at an 81-year-old woman at our Hamilton event last week."
Unlike @JustinTrudeau and @AndrewScheer, I condemn BOTH the hate and threats directed at this family because of the… https://t.co/K0LYtz81B5— Maxime Bernier (@Maxime Bernier)1570629534.0
Narcity has contacted Soufi’s restaurant for further information about the closure of their restaurant, but has yet to receive a response.
Despite the hate messages and death threats the family have recently received, their final Instagram post explained, “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."