Toronto restaurant Soufi’s, founded by Syrian refugee family, closes amid alleged death threats

Toronto restaurant Soufi’s, founded by Syrian refugee family, closes amid alleged death threats

A Toronto restaurant founded by a Syrian family showcased in the media as a success story of Canada’s refugee resettlement program has closed down after the owners said they received death threats and hate messages.

Soufi’s was founded by Husam and Shahnaz Al-Soufi, who came to Canada after they and their three children were sponsored by a community group in 2015. The family opened the Queen’s St. W.-Palmerston Ave. restaurant and café two years later, touting its Middle Eastern food as a culinary offering “from Syria with love.”

“As a result of numerous hate messages & death threats we have 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,” said a note posted on the restaurant’s website on Tuesday.

“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. We will cherish the countless memories of us sharing stories, food, music and laughter.”

A statement posted on Soufi's website on Tuesday announced that the restaurant on Queen St. W. is closing permanently due to alleged threats.

Soufi’s was among the eateries profiled in a New York Times story last year showcasing the budding Syrian culinary scene in Greater Toronto.

On their post on the restaurant’s website, the Al-Soufi family also said, “Please know that we do not wish to conceal the events that led to these threats, and wish to address the statements shared by the alt-right media in the near future, once it’s safe for us to do so.”

No other details were posted on the website.

More to come.

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Nicholas Keung

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