Muslim-owned restaurant hit by repeated vandalism

Muslim-owned restaurant hit by repeated vandalism

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by Andrea Lutz

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBandrealutz

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 25, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 27 at 9:37 AM

BOISE – Vandals have struck the same business in Boise’s North End more than once in the past several months. Now, the owners of Mazzah Mediterranean Grill can’t help but think they are being targeted.

“It’s a family business,” said Sam Bataineh who owns the restaurant with his brother Mohammad. “We have a pretty wide variety of food.”

Their customers seem to agree. The front reader board proudly mentions the fact that Mazzah has been named “Boise’s Best” five years in a row.

However the Bataineh brothers believe someone is not happy with them.

“The past four months we have had at least four incidents of vandalism,” explained Sam. “The first time it was eggs on the door and we didn’t think much of it.”

Then Sam says, eggs on the door a second time.

“The third time we had (the word) 'murder' spelled out in the parking lot in front of our place,” he said.

Then, early Sunday morning employees arrived to work to find a rock thrown through the front door, shattering the glass.

“So whoever is doing this is escalating the situation and we are just really concerned at this point,” said Sam.

This vandalism case is not typical, because the restaurant is positioned right next to many other businesses in the plaza. Curiously, only the Mezzah Mediterranean Grill has been hit with the damage.

“I believe that somebody is actually targeting us we don’t know why,” said Sam.

The family moved from Jordan and has lived in the United States for 30 years; they opened Mazzah Mediterranean Grill eight years ago. The family is also Muslim.

Boise Police Lt. Stan Niccolls tells KTVB they are looking into the matter, but as of now, nothing tells investigators this is a hate crime. There are no racial or faith based slurs that have been written out on the property, according to Lt. Niccols.

However, he also said that could change if they find out the motive of whoever is responsible for the vandalism.

“When someone does something like this, that means that they are risking their freedom,” said Mohammad. “So I don’t know if I should take it serious or just think it’s another something,”

Until they discover who the culprit is, Sam and Mohammad said they are offering a $500 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of a suspect. They will also be stepping up security and keeping a close eye on their beloved family business.

“We will definitely try to watch out better for the person who is doing that,” said Mohammad.

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