Sharif Rahman was an Owen Sound, Ontario, restaurant owner from Bangladesh who was assaulted and killed by three white male customers, according to Owen Sound police and a GoFundMe page set up to help his family.
The GoFundMe page says his nephew Adnan was also injured in the August 17, 2023, attack.
Songwriter and producer Alisha Brilla wrote on Facebook that Rahman had died. “Devastated to share that Sharif Rahman passed away last night from a racist violent attack that happened to him in Owen Sound, Ontario,” she wrote.
CBC, which confirmed that Rahman had died after being in critical condition for a week, making the case a homicide, reported that police believe the suspects were trying to skip out on paying their dining bill when a dispute ignited.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Owen Sound Police Say Sharif Rahman Was ‘Assaulted by 3 Caucasian Males’
According to a news release from Owen Sound police, Owen Sound Police “continue to investigate a serious assault which occurred on Thursday, August 17th, 2023 shortly after 9:15 p.m., in the 900 block of 9th Avenue East, Owen Sound.”
Police wrote that the victim, a 44 year old man and local business owner, “was assaulted by three Caucasian males who had attended his business and subsequently became involved in a dispute connected to the business. The assault occurred on the sidewalk area near the business known as The Curry House. The victim sustained serious injuries and remains in critical condition in a London Health Sciences hospital.”
The release says, “The males fled the area, two of which ran southbound on 2nd Avenue East toward the intersection at 9th Street and continued eastbound on 9th Street East.”
Rahman’s Facebook page says he worked at “Shaiqua Rahman Restaurants Limited,” and went to the University of Cambridge, Glasgow, Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Sylhet Government College, and Jalalabad Cantonment Board High School in Sylhet, which is a community in Bangladesh. His page is filled with photos showing him with his wife and their young daughter.
2. Owen Sound Police Released Surveillance Photos of the Suspects in the Death of Sharif Rahman
Police release surveillance images of two men fleeing The Curry House from behind. Both were dressed in shorts.
They also released a surveillance image of a vehicle leaving the scene. According to police, “The first male is described as being Caucasian, 5’10”- 6’2” tall, medium build, with short dark hair, wearing a light blue t-shirt, black shorts and black running shoes.”
According to police, “The second male is described as being Caucasian, 5’10”- 6’2” tall, medium build, with short brown hair which is longer on top, wearing an orange t-shirt, black shorts and black running shoes. Both are believed to be in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties in age.”
They noted: “Police are aware of a third male who is described as being Caucasian with curly hair, wearing shorts and a t-shirt and being in his late forties to mid-fifties in age,” and wrote, “The vehicle involved is similar to a gray or blue 2000’s model Ford Escape or Mazda Tribute.”
3. A GoFundMe page Has Raised More Than $200,000 for the Family of Sharif Rahman, Who Was Described as Embodying ‘Peace & Love’
A GoFundMe page has raised more than $200,000 for the family of Rahman.
The page read before he died,
“We have set up this page to directly support Sharif’s family through this difficult time.” It continued:
Recently, in a tragic and senseless act of violence, Sharif was assaulted and is now fighting for his life in London Ontario. His nephew, Adnan was also injured in the attack and was taken to hospital.
Anyone who knows Sharif and his family know that they are the most peaceful of people.
Sharif embodies peace and love to all and inspires people to be good and true. He is always there to help, and assist anyone who needed it.
4. Sharif Rahman Was Remembered as a ‘Sweet & Gentle Spirit’
According to Brilla’s post, “Sharif was such a sweet and gentle spirit who gifted Owen Sound with a space to eat, connect and share community.”
She noted, “Everytime we came to Owen Sound to perform music or teach diversity workshops in the schools, we would visit Sharif and his restaurant. Sharif’s murder leaves behind his family and my heart is with them as they grieve this shocking and very scary loss. Sharif was only 44.”
Brilla added, “Ontario, so called ‘Canada,’ we have a racism issue and the three white men who senselessly murdered our friend are still out there. This makes me scared for my friends and family. Someone knows something and I ask us as community to try and help bring some justice and safety to our community by finding the men and their vehicle pictured in this post. Share widely.”
5. Sharif Rahman, a Married Father, Was Remembered as ‘a Supporter of Charities’
Mark Barbosa told CBC of Rahman, “He would help anybody with anything, and he did. He was a supporter of charities. He cooked in his kitchen for homeless places. He was always giving back to his community, and so this is such a bad irony could happen to such a peaceful person.”
CBC reported that Rahman leaves behind a wife and a 6-year-old daughter.
“I do know this: Sharif would not have forced the issue if they refused to pay. I don’t believe he would have forced an altercation,” Barbosa told CBC.