‘Let my building burn’: Minneapolis restaurant owner responds to protests and violence
A restaurant caught in the crossfire of unrest in Minneapolis Thursday night has sent a powerful message to its followers on social media: “Let my building burn.”
Gandhi Mahal caught fire overnight. The restaurant is located in the same building as several other food businesses, including the Town Talk Diner and Gastropub, El Nuevo Rodeo and Addis Ababa, that appear to have been heavily damaged by fire. The restaurant is about a block from the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct.
Owner Ruhel Islam’s daughter, Hafsa, wrote the powerful post Friday morning.
“Thank you to everyone for checking in. Sadly Gandhi Mahal has caught fire and has been damaged. We won’t loose hope though, I am so greatful for our neighbors who did their best to stand guard and protect Gandhi Mahal. ... Don’t worry about us, we will rebuild and we will recover.”
As she wrote the post, Hafsa said, she overheard her father on the phone, saying “let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail.”
The post goes on: “Gandhi Mahal May have felt the flames last night, but our firey drive to help protect and stand with our community will never die! Peace be with everyone. #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd #BLM”
It has been shared widely across social media.
A leader in sustainability, Gandhi Mahal was the first restaurant in Minnesota to install an aquaponics system in its basement, and it harvested much of its produce from backyard gardens within 2 miles.
“I’m going to start small and show that we can really do it,” Islam said in a 2015 Star Tribune article. “That’s very important toward food security.”