Update: Toronto Syrian restaurant that shut down due to death threats, files complaint with police


A Syrian family, who announced they were permanently closing their popular restaurant after they began receiving hateful messages and death threats, has filed a complaint with Toronto Police.

Constable Rob Reid confirmed to NEWSTALK1010 that investigators are looking into the complaint.

"They've made contact with us this afternoon and a report has been taken and it is currently being investigated by the detective office at 14 division, with oversight from (the) intelligence hate crimes section."

The owners of Soufi's in the city's downtown core issued a social media post Tuesday morning, saying the decision to close was made with the safety of their family and staff in mind.

The restaurant had recently earned a national profile after a member of the owner's family reportedly attended a protest against an event in Hamilton featuring People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier.

Several media reports say a now-deleted Facebook post indicated the owner's son had attended last month's demonstration, and that he regrets not stepping aside or intervening when an elderly woman was blocked from entering the event and verbally harassed.

Prior to this, Soufi's had become a popular destination in Toronto and had even been profiled in the New York Times as a success story related to Canada's acceptance of Syrian refugees.

The downtown neighbourhood, where the restaurant is located, has rallied in support of the family, urging them to keep their doors open and not give in to hate.

Well-known businessman and founder of Paramount Fine Foods, Mohamad Fakih, has also stepped in to lend his support to the family.

"It's really important that we always send a message, that if hate ever win and if we cannot resolve this in a positive way, I think we are going to lose ourself as Canadian."

Since their story grabbed headlines, the family patriarch, Husam Al-Soufi says he and his family have received several positive messages.

There are reports that they are now working toward re-opening the business. 

With files from The Canadian Press

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