Soufi’s was presupposed to be an immigration success story, not only for the Alsoufi household, however for all of Canada. A New York Times profile in 2018 tied the Syran restaurant, positioned on Queen Street in Toronto, in with the increase in Syrian immigration, and its recognition as proof of Canada’s general tolerance for the 50,000 Syrian refugees Justin Trudeau had famously welcomed. “Canada’s warm welcome to Syrian refugees was a hallmark of Justin Trudeau’s election as prime minister in late 2015, and for many, it remains a potent symbol of Toronto’s multicultural identity. (The city’s motto is ‘Diversity Our Strength.’),” the Times wrote. “Syrian food businesses drew an overwhelming degree of media attention, and a customer base that extended well beyond people with Middle Eastern backgrounds.”

But now, simply over two years since Husam and Shahnaz Alsoufi opened its doorways, Soufi’s is closed, with the proprietary household citing demise threats towards them as the rationale why.

The alleged threats started after Husam and Shahnaz Alsoufi’s son, Alaa Alsoufi, was recognized as one of many antifa (which stands for anti-fascist) protesters at a talking occasion for right-wing, anti-immigrant politician Maxime Bernier. Bernier is the founder and chief of the People’s Party of Canada, which espouses ending “multiculturalism” and “open borders” as a part of the platform. He has additionally personally supported “healthy nationalism.” The PPC claims to help some type of multiculturalism, however solely when “immigrants who came to Canada [are] gradually integrated into our society,” slightly than immigrants who “keep the values and culture they left behind.”

According to CBC, video circulated of antifa protesters, together with Alaa Alsoufi, chanting “Nazi scum off our streets” as an elderly white woman approached them, and stopping her from coming into the Bernier occasion at Mohawk College, in Hamilton, Ontario. (Alaa Alsoufi seems carrying a masks, however doesn’t seem to work together instantly with the lady or her husband.) The lady — Dorothy Marston, 81 — admitted to being skeptical about immigration, saying Syrian “values are different than ours,” and was inquisitive about what Bernier needed to say, although she hasn’t made up her thoughts about who to vote for in the following election but. “They were hollering ‘Nazi’ and ‘racist’ and all this nonsense. It was more than nonsense, it was frightening in my country,” mentioned Marston of the encounter. Video of the incident has been shared by information shops and dispersed by PPC supporters.

In an Instagram put up, Soufi’s introduced that the restaurant is completely closed due to “numerous hate messages & death threats” after Alaa Alsoufi was recognized. In the put up, the Asoulfi household thank their prospects, and say that since opening the Syrian street-food restaurant in 2017, “we have been met with nothing but curiosity, respect, acceptance and love from the people of Toronto.” But the PPC supporters’ mark on the household and their enterprise will be seen throughout their internet presence, On Google, they’ve been inundated with one-star opinions. “They should all be shipped back to their own country,” one reads. Another simply mentioned, “Hammer and sickle aint tasty…”

The Alsoufis apologized for his or her son’s involvement in the protest, saying “Alaa regrets that he did not step aside and/or stand up against the act of verbal abuse,” that they’re “extremely lucky and grateful” to be in Canada, and that they ask folks to chorus from sending extra abusive messages their manner. Husam Alsoufi informed reporter Victoria Balfour that his son thought he was going to an anti terrorist rally, including, “He thought he was supporting the weak then he found himself caught next to people who attack [sic] the weak. What he did — standing there and not helping the [sic] elderly — is unacceptable…”

It’s sadly unsurprising {that a} household of Syrian immigrants is bearing the brunt of far-right retaliation as a result of their son attended a protest and didn’t intervene when a pair was verbally attacked. Eater has reached out to the Alsoufis relating to the closure, however has not heard again as of press time. However, they wrote in a touch upon Instagram, “Please know that we do not wish to hide or conceal the events that led to these threats, and wish to address the claims and information shared by certain media groups in the near future, once it’s safe for us to do so.”

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