Muslim man says he's closing Galveston restaurant because of threats, harassment https://t.co/53mRH3tQPN— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) June 15, 2017
A business owner in Galveston, Texas, has been forced to shut down his restaurant after he allegedly received religiously charged death threats.
In an interview, Asad Khan, a Muslim immigrant, explained why he chose to close ZaZa Bar & Bites.
“People want me dead because of me being a Muslim,” he told Chron.com. “Never did I think that people in Galveston are so closed-minded. […] I am honestly sick to my stomach. And frankly, fearful.”
Khan’s restaurant was reportedly vandalized last year with bacon and bacon grease, likely an attempt to offend him since Muslims don’t consume pork.
And it only got worse from there, according to Khan.
“I shut ZaZa down because of death threats towards me via phone calls,” he added. “In the last seven weeks or so [the] calls became worse. I did not enjoy being called ‘sand n****r’ or people telling me that I will die in ZaZa.”
Chron.com reports some people peddled rumors online that Khan was lying and that the decision to close down the restaurant was related to his financial troubles.
However, Khan has refuted the allegations, saying ZaZa is not his only source of income.
"I had seen on Facebook when ZaZa was 'baconed' last year that people down here believed that I was behind it. It really hurt me. There is no bankruptcy, none being filed," he said. "It's easier to blame the victim than accept we have a problem."
Many in the local community are supportive of Khan.
"I think it’s sad that we’re not more tolerant of each other. I mean, we’re all different. We have to embrace each other’s differences,” Sharon Miller, a Galveston resident, told CW39.
According to an Institute for Social Policy and Understanding report, “America Muslim Poll 2017: Muslims at the Crossroads,” released earlier this year, 60 percent of Muslim Americans have been subjected to discrimination based on religion in 2016.