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Crowdfunding campaign launched for Syrian-owned Halifax barber shop damaged by suspicious fire

Jakar Al Isso with a customer at Barran Barber Shop.
Jakar Al Isso with a customer at Barran Barber Shop. Barran Barber Shop

Two Syrian newcomers have lost their business — and only source of income — to a fire being investigated as suspicious on Sunday, and now they’re worried about how they’ll continue to support their families.

But one community member is stepping up to help.

Scott Decoste from Dartmouth started a GoFundMe page on Monday to raise money that can help cover anticipated monthly expenses, which includes rent, food, insurance and utilities for both families.

READ MORE: ‘We gotta start again’: Fire at Halifax barbershop being investigated as suspicious

The campaign is being organized and monitored by family friends including volunteers who sponsored the families to come to Canada.

Scott DeCoste launched the GoFundMe page on Monday after he got the families’ permission.
Scott DeCoste launched the GoFundMe page on Monday after he got the families’ permission. GoFundMe

“Both families have young children and only one source of income which is on hold until the shop can be rebuilt,” said Decoste, the campaign’s organizer and one of the sponsorship group members.

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WATCH: (July 7) Blaze at west-end Halifax barber shop deemed suspicious

Blaze at west-end Halifax barber shop deemed suspicious
Blaze at west-end Halifax barber shop deemed suspicious

The two business owners, Jakar Al Isso and his cousin Masoud Al Isso, both came with their families to Canada in 2016 to escape the violence in Northern Syria.

Shortly after, both men were able to open a barber shop called Barran Barber Shop on Bayers Road in Halifax “with only two chairs, and the men have expanded their business with money borrowed from family,” according to Decoste.

READ MORE: ‘It’s really hard being a stranger’: Calgary Syrian refugee looks back at 3 years of challenges

“It is good to see people worry about you and supporting you in times like this,” said Omar Al Isso, a family member who helped translate for both Jakar and Masoud.

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Al Isso said the men have never hurt nor fought with anybody.

“Nobody has ever left the store angry. I think it’s hate, but from what community is this hate coming from?” said Al Isso.

“We got a lot of support from our Canadian friends, we’ve gotten emails and telephones so far, so I don’t know,” he added.

Masoud Al Isso with a customer (Barran Barber Shop)
Masoud Al Isso with a customer (Barran Barber Shop)

Al Isso said Jakar and Masoud are looking to re-open their business as soon as it gets rebuilt.

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“I tell myself not to worry, that they’ll go out of business for a couple of months and that we will manage, but if police comes to me and says they weren’t able to find the person who caused the fire then that’s going to be horrible,” Al Isso said.

“This means [Jakar and Masoud] are going to re-open a store and they won’t know if their store will still be targeted.”

Halifax Regional Police said on Sunday that the exact cause of the fire remains unclear. They’re also asking anyone with information to contact them or reach out to Crime Stoppers.

So far, $905 have been raised for the families, but the goal is to raise a total of 10-thousand.

All funds raised will be divided equally between the two families.

WATCH: (July 4, 2019) 2 houses heavily damaged, cat dead after north-end Halifax fire

2 houses heavily damaged, cat dead after north-end Halifax fire
2 houses heavily damaged, cat dead after north-end Halifax fire
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