Syrian refugees flee war-torn country, open restaurant in New Jersey

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- There was a big celebration in honor of a restaurant opening in New Jersey on Monday, but the message behind the business is what makes it so special.

Nour Al-Sham on Main Street is owned -- with the assistance of the Paterson Economic Development Department -- by three Syrian refugees who fled to the U.S. in 2016.

"The comment that we heard are that refugees are a burden on our system here, and they rely on welfare and they are a threat to national security. And today the story speaks for itself," said Sikandar Kahn with the Paterson Economic Development Department.

The story of the restaurant owners is the American Dream. From learning the language, navigating the landscape, and becoming entrepreneurs who can reach back and help others.

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"We always try to be the best. Wherever we go, any job we do, we always try to be the best," said restaurant owner Mohammad Helal.

Forget a star rating, by different standards, the Syrian restaurant is already considered the best just one week into business.

"They left a war-torn country in Syria and now have the opportunity to become business owners during a pandemic in Paterson," said Paterson Mayor André Sayegh.

Kahn also pointed out the restaurant is hiring people from Paterson and helping the area in general.

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