-The owners of a popular Syrian restaurant in Toronto announced that they will be permanently closing shop after their family and staff received "numerous hate messages" and death threats over the past week.
The Soufi’s, a well-known Queen West restaurant operated by a Syrian family who recently immigrated to Canada, came under fire last week after the son of the restaurant’s owners took part in a demonstration outside Mohawk College on September 29 during which an elderly woman being harassed by protesters, the Canadian CTV News reported on Wednesday.
Some demonstrators called the elderly woman "Nazi scum " for her defending of Maxime Bernier’s People's Party of Canada (PPC), it added.
In a statement, the Syrian family said today "as a result of numerous hate messages & death threats we’ve received over the past week, we’ve decided to permanently close our shop. Our decision is made with a heavy heart in (an) effort to maintain our family and staff’s safety."
The family stressed that their decision to close the restaurant was made after their son was "doxed and physically assaulted" on Friday, adding "we know this hate does not reflect the people of Toronto. The people of Toronto are loving, welcoming people. We have heard from countless community members and organizations who have restored our faith in the city."
The restaurant's owners, Husam and Shahnaz Alsoufi, and two of their children moved to Canada in October 2015 to join their daughter Jala, who moved to Toronto three years earlier to attend the University of Toronto.
The restaurant, which offered traditional Syrian street food, was the first of its kind in Toronto when it opened in 2017 and the restaurant attracted a considerable amount of buzz from foodies at home and abroad.