Mar 30 2014

SusanWatch: Daily Mail and the Lebanese Restaurant in Harrow

susan_hall_leaderThe Daily Mail has an article today about a Lebanese Restaurant in Harrow, just a few steps down from the Civic Centre, which has a large picture of Saddam Hussein in the window, and which is reported to be upsetting a few residents.

The Mail says:

A Lebanese restaurant owner has placed a giant poster of Saddam Hussein in his eatery’s window.

Ayyad Al-Hamdan, 43, the owner of This Is It in Harrow, north-west London, has sparked outrage among local residents by placing the picture of the ruthless Iraqi dictator on display.

He has refused a request from council chiefs to remove the ‘offensive’ photograph, saying it is a political protest. Several people have left angry comments about it on the TripAdvisor review website.

Tripadvisor’s comments are along the lines of:

I had previously visited the restaurant and was pleased with the service till I went there the other day. I decided to take my Kurdish friends for a meal and was utterly disgusted. We walked past and we just decided to turn back around. They had a large poster of Saddam Hussein on the wall. 

We understand the local police dropped by to have a word with the owner, but without success. Council Leader Susan Hall also stormed the building, also to no avail: “We have had several members of the public complain and ask what the council can do about it,” she said to the Mail.

She continued: “The short answer is we are limited in what we can do. The police have also, we understand, been to the restaurant but the owner gave them the same response. The council is currently considering whether there are any options it could look at. For example whether this picture constitutes a potential breach of the peace – but again that is more a police matter.”

You can read the entire Mail article here. There is no note as to whether the Leader picked up a kebab during her visit.

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  1. j p hobbss

    I wonder if they also have rats in the Kitchen ? oh well it could be worse at least they don’t have one of Blair next to it .

  2. Hannah

    What about Freedom Of Speech!
    Not everyone believes he was a dictator the Americans and British used to provide his arms so he was not seen or presented as bad then.
    I bet she did have a kebab…

  3. sonoo malkani

    There is Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Speech,Hannah.There is another side to this coin ,surely ,which must be taken into account.This smacks of incitement in a hugely diverse borough like ours and is most insensitive.

    Already local folk have expressed their outrage and have protested but have been ignored.This clearly shows the intention of the owner.He has said people should come and speak with him but it seems more like an opportunity for yet more publicity.He seems hell-bent on doing his own thing in the name of “freedom”.

    The Leader of the Council has already done what she can.At the end of the day,it is for Harrow Police to assess what the potential implications might be for our citizens.I am sure the matter is in good hands.Please be patient.These matters are more complex than they might seem on the surface.

    Those in charge face the same dilemma as us ordinary citizens.Where does Freedom of Speech end and incitement to Breach the Peace start.?It is not as easy as you think to determine these issues,in today’s world,much as one would wish.We are part of Europe and many sadly,unduly exploit the legislation.Liberties come with responsiblities but many choose to forget that as has happened in this case.

    Of course,this restaurant owner is deliberately making a political point .He has already managed to grab our attention and get the publicity he desperately craves.We must not fall into his trap and grant him even more headlines!

    it is for us to CHOOSE whether or not to eat there.ACTIONS SPEAK VOLUMES.

    His actions are certainly insensitive and provocative.However,we must resist rising to the bait and giving him undue importance,thereby furthering his cause,albeit unintentionally.

    BOYCOTT THE RESTAURANT,if it offends you.Let the restaurant owner,Ayyad Al-Hamdan, decide whether his scoring political points in whatever manner he pleases is more important than your custom.He must put his money where his mouth is..That is HIS CHOICE.

    Let’s not give him the pleasure of wasting precious tax-payer monies by getting into silly and expensive law-suits.nor allow him to revel in the oxygen of publicity for his cause.

    CHOICE LIES IN OUR HANDS.I am sure you will make the right one.

  4. Concerned Harrovain

    I agree with Sonoo Malkani this man is wasting police and council time and taxpayer funds. He must be aware that this could be a public order issue yet
    he has decided he wishes to offend public sensitivities. Best to boycott his restaurant if you wish to show displeasure rather than resort to violence. Unlike this man everyone else wants to have a harmonious Harrow.
    Surely this stupid man could have chosen a better role model than Saddam Hussein to idolise.

  5. gary roberts

    The poster has been up for ages so why start complaining now.? The last time I looked, this country still had freedom of speech. So he should be able to put up what he likes. Besides, I’m sure most of what we were told about Saddam Hussein was lies. Just like we were lied to about Colonel Gaddafi and Lockerbie. One day the truth will come out.

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