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Paramount Fine Foods CEO offers to help Syrian restaurant reopen after death threats

Paramount Fine Foods CEO offers to help Syrian restaurant reopen after death threats
Canada
TORONTO -- The CEO of Paramount Fine Foods is offering to help the owners of a popular Syrian restaurant in Toronto reopen after they permanently closed because of death threats their family and staff received.

Soufis, a well-known Queen West restaurant operated by a Syrian family who recently immigrated to Canada, announced on Tuesday they would be permanently closed "in an effort to maintain our family and staffs safety."

"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," a statement posted on Soufis Instagram account on Tuesday read.

"We are heartbroken about having to make this decision; however, we could not put our family members, staff, and patrons in danger. The magnitude of hate we are facing is overwhelming."

On Wednesday morning, CTV News Toronto learned Paramount Fine Foods founder and CEO Mohamad Fakih spoke with a member of the Soufi family and offered to help them reopen.

"Hate messages & death threats sent to refugee immigrants is absolutely unacceptable," Fakih wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

"The extra legal funds needed to defend their rights is unnecessary, burdens them with another challenge. We need to keep Canada welcoming."

Fakih said he has offered to pay for security to protect the Soufi family and their staff. He said he would also consider sending a team of his employees to operate the store under the Soufis name.

He said was hoping to speak with the family again on Wednesday and arrange a meeting to discuss the possibilities.

"We can t let hate win, we will lose ourselves," Fakih told CTV News Toronto.

Oct 8, 2019 at 7:31am PDT

The restaurant came under fire last week after the son of the restaurants owners was involved in an incident outside of a fundraiser in Hamilton for Maxime Bernier s People s Party of Canada (PPC).

Video circulating online showed an elderly woman being harassed by protesters outside Mohawk College, where the event was held on Sept. 29.

A line of protesters blocked her from entering the building and some demonstrators reportedly called the elderly woman "Nazi scum."

Hamilton police later confirmed that they were investigating the incident and said charges may be pending.
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