A building housing an Indian cuisine restaurant was among those damaged in the protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis this week. The Gandhi Mahal caught fire as it was just doors away from the Third Precinct headquarters of the Minneapolis Police Department, which was set ablaze by protesters on Thursday night. However, in response to the incident, the owners, who are of Bangladeshi-origin, posted a message that is winning hearts online.
“We won’t lose hope though, I am so grateful for our neighbours who did their best to stand guard and protect Gandhi Mahal. You’re efforts won’t go unrecognised,” wrote Hafsa Islam, the 18-year-old daughter of owner Ruhel Islam, in a now-viral Facebook post. “Don’t worry about us, we will rebuild and we will recover,” she added.
Talking about her father, Hafsa also said, “I hear him say on the phone, ‘let my building burn, justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail’.”
With over 27,000 shares, the post has touched millions of hearts online, spreading across social media platforms from Twitter to Instagram.
“Gandhi Mahal may have felt the flames last night, but our fiery drive to help protect and stand with our community will never die! Peace be with everyone,” Hafsa added.
On a GoFundMe page set up to help the family recover from the loss, the Islams thanked people for their generous donations and added, “If you donate here, we will also use the funds to make food to support others in our community during this challenging time. We are looking into a temporary kitchen so that we can continue to provide take out food.”
The family is revered in the locality for their community service. The eatery is reportedly a hub of inter-faith interactions that promotes sustainable living to fight climate change, supports farmers and budding artists.
As protests grew violent in Minneapolis, the family reportedly opened the doors of the restaurant to paramedics to treat those injured and other protesters to take shelter from the police’s mace, tear gas and rubber bullets. “We were just trying to do what we could to help our community,” said Hafsa, who helped treat wounded protesters.
‘This is what solidarity looks like’: How users responded
This letter, from the family that owns a restaurant I love, says it all. The strength of these words… read it twice and soak in what is being said here. The selflessness is breaking my heart and giving me strength today pic.twitter.com/3j1nSIyU9B
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) May 29, 2020
This is the most loving response to protestors destroying a restaurant.
“I am sitting next to my dad watching the news, I hear him say on the phone; “ let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail”
Heading to Gandhi Mahal next time I’m in Mpls. pic.twitter.com/eqP1U799GG
— Ethan Bearman, Esq. (@EthanBearman) May 29, 2020
This is the Minneapolis I love. Dayna Frank owns First Ave, and the second post is from the daughter of Gandhi Mahal Restaurant’s owner. Both own establishments that were damaged during this tragedy. pic.twitter.com/idVOy6w0u5
— Andy McNamara (@TheRealAndyMc) May 29, 2020
“Let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail.” The owner of Gandhi Mahal Restaurant in Minneapolis showing us what allyship looks like. Respect. pic.twitter.com/0B33r1Knt3
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) May 29, 2020
That is so sad. But, gives me hope
— Simon Majumdar (@SimonMajumdar) May 29, 2020
This is the response of the Gandhi Mahal Restaurant in Minneapolis MN after it was burned down!
“I hear my dad say, let my building burn. Justice needs to be served. Put those officers in Jail.”
Owners are Southasian MUSLIMS
This is Solidarity. This is how you respond 🥺😭 pic.twitter.com/NJMbAPi1ZZ
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) May 29, 2020
beautiful. solidarity is necessary to combat systemic racist injustice
— #FreeRedFawn (@NarTalley) May 29, 2020
A Bangladeshi restaurant owner in Minneapolis lost his business in the fires. The family has decided to stand in solidarity with #GeorgeFloyd, instead of siding with the police state. This is how we do resistance – we count our losses as a collective, and fight for Black lives. pic.twitter.com/tBLlbwF7XY
— Sharmin Hossain (@sharminultra) May 29, 2020
I was greatly inspired on reading these words, spoken by Ruhel Islam, owner of Gandhi Mahal Restaurant in Minneapolis, and so I did this quick doodle. His restaurant was caught up in the protests, but he took it with grace. [1/4] #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/KI6HObaXSB
— ☠️ Mango 🥭 (@mangoame) May 30, 2020
EVERYONE ORDER THIS DAILY PLEASE! Empathetic restaurant owners are not the norm. Ask anyone who works in them. https://t.co/3CVmYHaQzB
— dear, white lady (@dearwhitelady) May 30, 2020
Wow! The generosity and belief in and practicing a charitable heart is inspiring. Thank you for sharing this.
— Robert Coyle (@ReallyBobCoyle) May 29, 2020
Incredible humans. If we could all have this level of selflessness the world would be a better place. Sending virtual hugs and peace to this family.
— Theresa Stanley (@BourbonBellePR) May 29, 2020
Not just Gandhi Mahal, a popular book shop and a local pub too were damaged during the protests. “Things that may be lost or damaged in our building are just things, but your life is priceless, just like George Floyd’s life was priceless,” read a statement by Moon Palace Books.
— Moon Palace Books (@MoonPalaceBooks) May 29, 2020
Meanwhile, Dayna Frank of The Turf said: “We’ll rebuild; we’re not dead. You know who’s dead? George Floyd. You know who’s still unhurt? The murderous cop and his accomplices.”
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