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Cooking up a legal storm: Syrian restaurant run by refugees offers free food to anti-deportation lawyers
LONDON: Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, a refugee-owned Syrian restaurant in London, offered a free dinner on Wednesday to “activist lawyers” who worked to stop the flight carrying asylum seekers from taking off to Rwanda.
“To every ‘militant lawyer’ who worked tirelessly to stop yesterday’s flight from taking off to Rwanda, you and one more are invited to a free dinner at our restaurant,” the restaurant tweeted. “Thanks.” On Tuesday evening, the first flight which was to take asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda was canceled minutes before takeoff after court rulings.
Up to seven people were due to be deported from Britain, but the flight was stopped after a late intervention by the European Court of Human Rights led to further challenges in UK courts.
Speaking to Arab News about the initiative, Imad Alarnab, the Syrian owner and founder of Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, said how upset he was by the UK’s decision to deport asylum seekers .
“I am a Syrian refugee in the UK, and what these people are going through I personally, morally and ethically sympathize,” Alarnab said. “They are going through exactly the same thing I went through five years ago when I came to the country. I’m very upset”
Alarnab has expressed frustration with the “shocking” decisions taken by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, pointing out that asylum seekers are fleeing horrific conditions to safety, but instead face an uncertain future.
“I believe Boris Johnson and Priti Patel are using refugees and asylum seekers to distract the public from recent government failures,” he said, adding that people like Johnosn and Patel do not represent the British public.
Alarnab arrived in Britain as a refugee in 2015 after fleeing war and persecution in Syria.
A successful restaurateur in Damascus, Alarnab hoped to incorporate his country’s cuisine into his new life in the UK. He began organizing a series of charity events and supper clubs in partnership with organizations such as UNICEF and the British refugee charity Choose Love.
Alarnab opened his restaurant in May 2021 in London’s vibrant Soho and has pledged to donate £1 ($1.2) from every bill to Choose Love.