On Thursday of last week, three men brutally assaulted an Owen Sound restaurant owner at his place of business before fleeing. Sharif Rahman, 44, owner of The Curry House, a popular Indian restaurant in downtown Owen Sound, had to be transported to a London hospital where he has been on life support since the attack.
News reports have said that the three men were eating inside Sharif’s restaurant on Thursday evening, but after being asked to pay their bill as it was near closing time, a dispute began and the three men refused to pay. On the sidewalk outside the restaurant, the dispute continued, and Sharif was brutally beaten and left unresponsive.
As you can imagine, folks in Owen Sound, along with many from outside the city, who have frequented the restaurant have been shocked by these events, and as good humans do, many have stepped up to help Sharif and his family in any way they can.
Owen Sound resident Mark Barbosa quickly established a GoFundMe page, and, at the time of my writing this column on Tuesday morning, has raised more than $90,000. The funds raised will be used to cover medical costs, to support The Curry House restaurant during Sharif’s absence, and to assist Sharif’s family.
The $90,000 raised as of Tuesday morning was thanks to donations made by more than 800 people.
As I write this, the three cowardly assailants have not yet been found, but I hope that they soon will be. Certainly they are well aware that the man they brutalized is barely clinging to life in a London hospital. They must also be aware that an entire community is in shock by such a horrific incident. And they absolutely are aware that the police are looking for them, and the charges will be serious, as they should be.
Like most folks, I am not prone to violence, so when horrific stories such as this are reported, it can be hard to wrap my head around just how three adult men could think they would be justified in beating another man on the street outside his restaurant. It truly boggles the normal mind. I can’t imagine anything that a restaurant owner could do or say that could justify physical assault.
I hope that the identity of these three cowards can be uncovered by the police, and the three men, I hate calling them men, the three cowardly assailants can be brought to justice for their actions.
Silver linings can be difficult to find or acknowledge in the face of a tragedy, but if there is one in this horrific story, it is that the community in Owen Sound has rallied around Sharif and his family, they have stepped up to help, and they have opened their wallets to contribute to what will be a long and costly road to travel for Sharif and his family in the weeks and months to come.
When reviewing the comments left on the GoFundMe page, it is clear that Sharif was well loved by his community and his customers.
“Sharif embodies peace and love to all and inspires people to be good and true. He is always there to help, and assist anyone who needed it,” wrote Mark Barbosa, who established the fundraiser for the family.
Owen Sound’s mayor Ian Boddy issued a statement on Monday in which he both condemned the assault and praised the victim.
“I am heartbroken and outraged by this senseless act of violence toward Sharif Rahman and one of his employees this past week. Sharif is the owner of the popular restaurant The Curry House, and he now fights for his life in hospital. Sharif is an outstanding member of our community, serving on City and County Committees, and working as a successful small business owner and restaurateur in the River District,” Mayor Boddy said in his statement. “I want all residents to know that the City takes this very seriously and that Owen Sound Police Services continue to act with urgency to find the individuals responsible. An attack like this on one of our business community members is an attack on the entirety of the community. We all need to stand up against this violence. Please contact the Owen Sound Police Services if you have information on this tragic event that will help the investigation.”
Mayor Boddy is right in saying that this cowardly attack of an upstanding citizen, business owner, and family man, is an attack on the entire community.
Three cowardly assailants can’t stay under the radar for long. Someone close to the three must suspect that something isn’t right, and if you have any information please contact the Owen Sound Police so that these three thugs can be arrested and charged.
My thoughts are obviously with Sharif and his family. I, like everyone else, am hoping that he is able to recover from this brutal attack, and I am pleased to see the community rally around his family and his business, offering love and support during a time that must be equal parts confusion, outrage, and sadness.
If you would like to contribute to the funds being raised for Sharif and his family, the GoFundMe page can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-for-sharifs-family