The owner said harassment intensified after he filed a vandalism complaint with the police
A Galveston restaurant established by a Pakistani entrepreneur is closing its doors after months of alleged harassment, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Late last year, Asad Khan said he arrived at his island establishment ZaZa Bar & Bites to find the front of the business was vandalised. It was covered in bacon and bacon grease.
Khan, who immigrated to the US from Pakistan in 1993, is Muslim. There is a religious prohibition on Muslims regarding the consumption or handling of pork.
He filed a report with the Galveston police right after the incident. Since then, he said the harassment has intensified.
Khan explained that he ultimately made the difficult decision to shut down his restaurant.
“I shut ZaZa down because of death threats towards me via phone calls,” Khan said.
“In the last seven weeks or so, [the] calls become worse. I did not enjoy being called “sand n****r” [ a derogatory term used to refer to someone of Arab descent] or people telling me that I will die in ZaZa,” he added.
Some people on social media have accused Khan of fabricating the story. He refutes allegations that financial troubles are the actual the reason for the closing down, adding that this business was not his sole 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.” The closing comes at the peak of Galveston’s tourism season.
“I opened ZaZa [as] a happy little fun project; this was supposed to [be] fun and love. Never did I think that people in Galveston are so closed-minded,” he said.
“People want me dead because of me being a Muslim. I am honestly sick to my stomach. And frankly, fearful.”