Lebanese-American Muslim Sam Zahr said he was surprised by the reaction of local Muslims
Monday 29 July - A Lebanese-American franchisee said he was too worried to open a restaurant in Dearborn, Michigan, after his children were bullied and he received threatening messages from those opposed to the Burgerim burger chain.
Burgerim means many burgers in Hebrew. Sam Zahr was going to open a Burgerim location in two weeks. He said he invested $180,000 in the business. After growing backlash, however, he won't be opening up on the Detroit-Dearborn border.
'That was actually my first location I wanted to open until those problems started,' Sam Zahr said.
Sam Zahr owns a Burgerim franchise in Royal Oak. The company is expanding across the United States. It started in Israel and is headquartered in California.
Sam Zahr said he was surprised by the reaction to opening a location in Dearborn.
'I don’t see the connection between my business and the conflict between Israel and Palestine'
'I’ve received very hurtful comments. You support Israel, you don’t support the Palestinian cause,' Sam Zahr said.
Law professor and local activist Amer Zahr, who is not related to Sam, is opposed to Burgerim coming to Dearborn.
'Obviously the issue of Palestine is near and dear to the people of Dearborn. I wish that he had done more research and understood the sensitivity before bringing it into our community,' Amer Zahr said.
Coincidentally, the Arab American News (i.e., Muslim news) 'investigated' the franchisee when the opening was announced and had already engaged at least one Palestinian Muslim who appears to be part of the BDS movement that was likely the impetus for the bullying and threats.
Ironically, they bullied another Muslim and one who planned on opening the store in a Muslim-owned strip mall.
'I think we as a community should be open to others, including Jews,' said Mohammed Saidawi, co-owner of the strip mall where the burger joint is located. 'We welcome everyone. In the end, we all have rights and we have to live with each other.'
'We respect all sects from all ethnic and religious backgrounds and we have no problem with the Jewish community in the United States,' he added. 'Nor will we discriminate against anyone, whether a person or a business.'
Author's comment: There are a lot of unsavoury Muslim characteristics on display here. The Mafia-like bullying and intimidation, the refusal to countenance Israeli products and services in any form because of the Qur'anic injunction against the Jews, and the 'Taqiyya' of the Muslim strip mall owner wishing to show Islam in the best possible light.