The forty-seven years old Mohamad Abdallah Fakih (محمد عبدالله فقيه) is the founder and CEO of Paramount Fine Foods, a Middle Eastern restaurants and food chain operating in Canada, USA (Florida, New York), UK (London – Paddington, Brixton and Gloucester), Lebanon (Beirut), Pakistan (Karachi), and the Ivory Coast (Abidjan).
Fakih’s relationship with Justin Trudeau seems very close. Trudeau was invited several times to Paramount Fine Foods, and he has joined the Canadian Primer’s political and charitable activities. Fakih called Trudeau “my good friend,” and said “ I have personal and direct relationship with Justin Trudeau.” Trudeau called Fakih “my friend” and “the best of Canada.”
On the occasion of Paramount Fine Food’s tenth anniversary, Trudeau sent his greetings in video:
“Mohamad my friend, congratulations to you and to the whole team at Paramount on your tenth anniversary. In just a short decade you’ve made your mark in Toronto North America and around the world. Your success speaks to your passion commitment and dedication. By now we know the quality of your food is outstanding but your commitment to making a difference and helping people is nothing short of inspiring… Congratulations again here’s to many more decades of success.”
Fakih responded: “Paramount Fine Foods is honoured to receive this special message for our 10th Anniversary from our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau Thank you Mohamad Fakih.”
Born in Tairdebba, the small Shiite village in south Lebanon – home also to Imad Mughniyeh, former Hezbollah Chief Commander – Mohamad Fakih has managed skillfully to translate his meteoric business success to political power by establishing close relationship not only with Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau, but also with other Liberal ministers, members of Parliament and local politicians.
Dismissing the idea of entering politics, it appears that Fakih favours rubbing shoulders with people in power to promote his community and business targets, as well as his political agenda.
For the Liberal Party Fakih is a one of the most valuable political asset that can help in mobilizing the Muslim and the Arab communities to vote for reelection of the Trudeau government in 2019 elections.
But Fakih should reconsider his partnership with Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief Canada. Tom Quiggin, a Canadian intelligence expert, has recently sent to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police a request to launch a investigation into financing terrorism. It is based on a new report that shows that Members of Parliament and Ministers have been sending taxpayers’ money to organizations that fund extremism and terrorism. According to Quiggin, one such organization is Islamic Relief Canada, which recived funds from a variety of government programs.
Islamic Relief Canada, according to its own annual reports, “works independently and in partnership with Islamic Relief Worldwide and other local and international partners to fund ongoing programs.” Quiggin noted that seven different independent and reliable sources have stated their views that Islamic Relief Worldwide has been funding terrorism including Hamas. Islamic Relief denies terrorist links.
Quiggin added, among these countries are the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Israel, as well as the Brritan’s HSBC bank, and the Swiss UBS bank. Also included in this list are the United Kingdom’s Charities Aid Foundation, and the Financial Post of Canada. In the USA, a group of seven members of Congress have requested the FBI and IRS investigate Islamic Relief USA for terrorism funding.
Another example of a questionable Canadian government funding, is via the Canadian Red Cross to the Tairdebba village in Lebanon.
Ambassador of Canada to Lebanon visited Mohamad Fakih’s hometown
On June 11, 2018 the Embassy of Canada to Lebanon issued the following statement: “Ambassador of Canada to Lebanon Emmanuelle Lamoureux meets healthcare providers and beneficiaries in Saida and Tyre to see first-hand the impact of health services provided under the Canada funded Canadian Red Cross project.”
The Lebanese media in Arabic reported (see also here and here) that Lamoureux visited the Red Cross mobile clinic in Tairdebba a small Shiite village in south Lebanon, 83 km south of Beirut, and met with its mayor Hussein Sa’ad (حسين سعد). Tairdebba is a small village with 6,000 people. The biggest families are Fakih and Mughniyeh. If the name sounds familar, it should be. Imad Mughniyeh, former Hezbollah Chief Commander, was born and lived in this village.
In interviews to the Lebanese and Canadian media in Arabic Fakih said he came from Tairdebba (طيردبا). How well did he know Imad?
After Mughniyeh’s assassination in 2008, this village has become known as strongly affiliated with Hezbollah. Members of Mughniyeh and Fakih clans served as military operatives in the ranks of Hezbollah, and the mayor Hussein Sa’ad does not hide his supporting of Hezbollah. Moreover, Hezbollah regularly holds public events in Tairdebba, including ceremonies in commemoration of Imad Mughniyeh and other Hezbollah operatives (“martyrs”). And a community centre in Tairdebba named after Imad Mughniyeh is used also by Hezbollah.
Of all the villages in Lebanon needing Canada’s Red-Cross assistance, why was the Hezbollah stronghold selected? Who in the Canadian government decided, or knew about this? Was it one of Mohamad Fakih’s friends?
Timeline of Mohamad Fakih’s story of business success
1971 – Mohamad Fakih was born in Lebanon to Nabiha and Abdallah, who owned and operated a company that built and sold apartment buildings. Based on an interview with him, the Toronto Star reported that Fakih was “born in Beirut”, “grew up in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war” and that “in young Mohamad Fakih’s home in Beirut, ‘it was not OK to say no to anyone who needed help’.”
According to a court document: “Mr. Fakih grew up amidst the sectarian violence of the Lebanese civil war. His own mother was a victim of a bombing in Beirut.”
In an interview with AlMughtareb newspaper (August 2016 p. 36-37) Fakih said (originally in Arabic): “I’m Lebanese, I’m coming from [the village of] Tairdebba located in south [Lebanon] in the district of Tyre… Of course I visit Lebanon, sometimes for business and other times for visiting family and friends. Tairdebba is the past, present and the future, the memories of [my] sweet childhood… Our [financial] support is limited to the internationally recognized official institutions. We also grant personal support to people from the village [Tairdebba] who need it.”
In an interview with the daily Lebanese Annahar (May 21, 2017) Fakih said (originally in Arabic): [Question] “Are you visiting Lebanon? What does it mean to you?” [Fakih] “Of course, I visit Lebanon, sometimes because of work and in other occasions to visit friends and family. Tairdebba is the past, the present and the future. It [Tairdebba] is the memories of the sweet childhood, the nostalgia for the most beautiful meeting, the meeting of land, soil and green plants.” [Question] “Do you provide any support to Lebanon?” [Fakih] “Our aid is limited to official institutions that are universally recognized and we also provide personal support to people from my village [Tairdebba] who need it.” [Question] “You belong to two homelands. If you choose to give up one of the two citizenships, which one would you give up?” [Fakih] “I will give up the Lebanese citizenship in order to serve with [my] Canadian [citizenship] my country [Lebanon] and it people. Unfortunately, the Lebanese citizenship limits our ambitions and successes outside the borders of the homeland, while the Canadian citizenship allows us to employ our [Lebanese] people in our institutions and help us invest in the homeland [Lebanon].”
1987 – According to the Toronto Star, at age16 Fakih left home to pursue his studies in a French school in Damascus, Syria. A few months later he travelled to his uncle in Padua, Italy, where he studied in a local college gemology and geology for three years.
1995 – “At age 24 he was officially a gemologist… He apprenticed at a major jeweller and gemologist in Padua, who handled wholesale and retail.” (Toronto Star)
1997 – “After his apprenticeship, Fakih returned to Beirut in 1997, where he partnered successfully with another man in a jewelry business.” (Toronto Star)
1998 – Fakih came for a five-day visit in Toronto “to help revamp a friend’s small jewelry company, in winter 1998.” (Toronto Star) According to a court document: “In the winter of 1998, while travelling to Toronto to visit a friend, Mr. Fakih found Canada to be a respite from the violence of Lebanon. He therefore immigrated and purchased [in 2006] a small restaurant near Dixie Road and Eglinton Avenue in Mississauga. This became the first Paramount Fine Foods restaurant.”
1999 – According to the Toronto Star, Mohamad Fakih arrived in Canada with on visitor’s visa in 1999, which led to a business visa. Fakih told mississauga.com: “I came to this country with nothing.” Fakih wrote: “My first job was at Tim Hortons. I lasted five days before I quit, realizing that because the restaurant wasn’t halal, it wasn’t a place I wanted to work.”
Mohamad Fakih described his immigration experience as follows: “I came to Canada, like many over the last several hundred years, for a better future for my family. My challenges were also very typical. I spoke a different language, I didn’t know the customs, I looked different, and to compound it all, I am Muslim, from the Middle-East and my first name is Mohamad. Finding a mentor from the same background was even harder. Things were stacked up against me! I am honoured to be highlighted amongst other Muslim Leaders #tdsblHM”
1999? – According to the Toronto Star in March 2017, “his lawyer, Yehuda Levinson, a Hasidic Jew who helped Fakih obtain a visa to work in Canada nearly 20 years ago.”
200? – He worked for an Eaton Centre jeweler, initially for free. Fakih held a management position at a jewelry shop. Fakih was approached by a watch company. Fakih told dolcemag.com: “They wanted me to take an executive position and I agreed, but I told them I’d only be with them two or three years since I wanted to open my own business. They just smiled, thinking, ‘Sure, everybody says that.’ Three years later I partnered with a great lady and we opened some jewelry stores of our own.”
2002 – 2004 – Fakih worked for La Swiss, a watch store. (Toronto Star)
2003 – Fakih worked also for a watch business in Sherway Gardens shopping centre [Etobicoke, Ontario]. He bought some Swatch watch kiosks and operated them in malls. (Toronto Star)
2006 – In 2006, Mohamad Fakih purchased a nearly bankrupt restaurant and transformed it into Middle Eastern Halal restaurant chain – Paramount Fine Foods.
According to Fakih, Paramount Fine Foods, which he founded in 2006, is now “the fastest growing Middle Eastern Halal restaurant chain in North America.”
Paramount Fine Foods also owns Paramount Butcher Shop that provides halal poultry, deli meats, lamb, veal, goat and beef in Canada, USA and Lebanon.
Mohamad Fakih also founded The Fakih Foundation, a non-for-profit international organization “dedicated to generating positive social change in the world by empowering vulnerable and underserved communities for entrepreneurship, leadership, diversity & inclusion by mobilizing key stakeholders, offering the right tools and providing in-kind services.”
2016 – Fakih’s businesses with 60 locations in 4 continents saw nearly $70 million in sales and he lists his current net worth at $50 million.
2018 – The City of Mississauga’s iconic sports complex changed its name from the Hershey Centre to the Paramount Fine Foods Centre after Paramount expressed purchased the naming rights through a new ten-year agreement ($500,000 per year).
Mohamad Fakih’s Political Activity
Mohamad Fakih is identified with the Liberal Party of Canada. He endorsed Justin Trudeau in his successful bid for prime minister in 2015, Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, Omar Alghabra who was elected as a Liberal MP representing Mississauga Centre, Ontario, and Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga and a former Liberal MP.
In 2015 federal elections he openly campaigned for the Liberal Party and in 2018 he took part in a fundraiser for Ahmed Hussen Liberal MP and Minister of Immigration (“Loved being a part of a truly diverse fundraiser for Hon. Ahmed Hussen”).
Fakih’s Freinds in the Liberal Party
Liberal MP Omar Alghabra commended Mohamad Fakih in Parliament:
“Madam Speaker, I rise today [February 17, 2017] to recognize an outstanding Canadian. After the tragic Quebec mosque shooting, Mohamad Fakih offered to cover the costs of the funerals for all six victims, and repairs to the mosque. When asked why, he said, “That’s what Islam taught me and that’s what Canada taught me.” Mr. Fakih is known for his generosity. Last year, he started an initiative to hire dozens of Syrian refugees. He also supports groups like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Cops for Cancer, the Mississauga Food Bank, Sheridan College, Ryerson University, and the True Patriot Love Foundation, just to name a few. 2017 is a special year for Mohamad. In 10 short years he has built one of the fastest-growing Middle Eastern food businesses around the world. Today, Paramount Fine Foods employs hundreds of Canadians and is expanding globally. I want to congratulate Mohamad, his team at Paramount, and his family: wife Hanan; and, his children Emad, Kareem, and Adam. They represent the best of Canada.”
On May 26, 2018 Mohamad Fakih joined The Canadian-Muslim Vote’s challenge that encourages Muslims to vote in all elections to pubic positions.
Mohamad Fakih’s Friends
These are the individuals in the political and media circles, he listed as “friends” —
- Liberal PM Justin Trudeau (“my good friend”, “I have personal and direct relationship with Justin Trudeau”)
- Gerald Butts, senior political adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (“good friend”)
- Katie Telford, Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (“good friend”, “wonderful”)
- Liberal MP Omar Alghabra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade Diversification, former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs specializing in consular affairs (“my best friend”, “my dear friend”). In 2015 election campaign Fakih endorsed Omar Alghabra: “Please Vote For My Dear friend Omar [Al]Ghabra. My friend Omar has the experience, integrity and commitment to best represent Mississauga Centre. He also has the ability to forge broad consensus critical to developing workable solutions to the challenges ahead for uor community and our country.”
- Liberal MP Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (“my good friend”)
- Liberal MP Bill Morneau, Finance Minister
- Liberal MP Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
- Liberal MP Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women
- Liberal MP Iqra Khalid
- Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara
- Liberal MP Yasmin Ratansi (“good friend”)
- John McCallum, Canadian Ambassador to China, former federal Minister of National Defence and Immigration
- Liberal MPP Kathleen Wynne, former Ontario Premier (“my dear friend”). In 2018 Mohamad Fakih campaigned for the re-election of Wynne.
- Former Liberal MPP Charles Sousa, former Ontario Finance Minister
- John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, former leaser of the Progressive Conservative Party, today independent politician.
- Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga, former Liberal MP
- Hazel McCallion, former Mayor of Mississauga (“good friend”)
- Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary, member of the Liberal Party (“good friend”)
- Karen Vaux Ras, City of Mississauga Councillor (Ward 2)
- Mohamad Lachemi, President of Ryerson University in Toronto (“my close friend”). On June 8, 2018 Mohamad Fakih was awarded an Honourary Doctorate by Mohamad Lachemi.
- Omar Subedar, Director of the Mathabah Institute, Brampton, Ontario (Fakih is my “close friend”)
- Bilal Khan, Bilal sits on the Board of Directors of Toronto Global, TVOntario, the Canadian Club of Toronto, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Advisory Board at Rogers Communications
- Ted Woloshyn, Toronto broadcaster with CFRB-AM, journalist with the Toronto Sun
- Lama O. Aggad, Media Presenter / Producer at Lama TV – لمى
Balancing religion and business
Mohamad Fakih observes the teachings of Islam. In response to the question “how do you maintain your deen (religion) and your work?” Fakih said: “I feel very blessed and lucky to have come across an idea that allows me to incorporate my deen [religion] and work together. For instance, Paramount is a Halal restaurant and also we provide a prayer room open to our customers. At Paramount we have dedicated our success to better representing the Muslim community within the Canadian society.”
On December 11, 2016 Mohamad Fakih wrote: “Today is Mawlid-ul-Nabi, the observance of the birth of our beloved Prophet (P.B.U.H). His dedication to peace and the truth, his forgiveness to those who wronged him, his trust in Allah, his concern for the welfare of the people and his generosity to all those around him, are all qualities we must strive to emulate now more than ever. In a world of turmoil and suffering, it is important to remember the great example of the Prophet (P.B.U.H).”
In Ramadan 2016 Mohamad Fakih publicly encouraged then Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to fast one day in the month of Ramadan “in solidarity with the Muslims in Canada and around the world.” Wynne and her ministers accepted Fakih’s invitation to join him for iftar, the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast. On June 23, 2016 Fakih posted: “Honoured to host [Onatrio] Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie to break their fast at the Sayeda Khadija Centre with Imam Hamid Slimi yesterday.
Paramount Fine Foods was one of the sponsors of MuslimFest 2018, an initiative of the Islamic organization DawaNet. (for further information on MuslimFest and Dawanet read “ISNA Canada and its affiliates” and “Islamic organization applied for federal funding under Summer Jobs program”)
Supporting the Canadian Muslim public advocacy group
Muhamed Fakih urged Canadian Muslim to donate to the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM): “I give to the NCCM because they stand up for the rights of all Canadians. It’s rewarding to help an organization that shares similar values to my own: respect, compassion, and a commitment to strengthening this great country. Can I count on you to help?”
Beneath Fakih’s statement NCCM explained: “Donate your zakat and sadaqa to protect fundamental rights and freedoms today. NCCM is Zakat-eligible as declared by the Canadian Council of Imams (CCI) and various Islamic scholars, under the category of “fi-sabillilah”.
In December 2015 Mohamad Fakih was a speaker at NCCM event titled “Stronger Together”.
Partnering with UNHCR, Islamic Relief Canada/ Worldwide, Canadian charities
Mohamad Fakih is involved in charitable projects in Canada, the Middle East (Lebanon), Asia (Myanmar) and Africa (Somalia). In May 2015 The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency in Canada, joined forces with Mohamad Fakih to raise funds for Rohingya refugees. The Fakih Foundation committed to match the highest donation amount raised by any Canadian business leader or collected by a Paramount Fine Foods location during the month of Ramadan.
On May 6, 2018 MP Omar Alghabra commended Fakih’s cooperation with UNHCR: “Congratulations to my friend Mohamad Fakih on his partnership with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Everyday he’s doing something new to make our country a better place for all. You’re a great model to all of us.”
The Fakih Foundation states:
“A community leader, Mohamad [Fakih]regularly participates in fundraisers and community events, supporting multiple causes and organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Sick Kids Hospital and the Make a Wish Foundation in Toronto. Both Paramount and Mohamad have donated generously to these charities and other non-profit organizations. Across his restaurants Mohamad offers discounts to all Emergency Service Workers in uniform to show appreciation for their service in our communities. This past year after the Canadian government decided to welcome 25,000 Syrian Refugees, Mohamad made headlines in Canadian News when he travelled to Lebanon to visit the Islamic Relief Camps for Syrian Refugees to gain a deeper understanding of current relief efforts.
On February 4, 2016 Mahmood Qasim, Head of Fund Development at Islamic Relief Canada, posted on Facebook: “Mohamad Fakih a friend of Islamic Relief Canada who took time out of his busy schedule running one of the best middle eastern food companies Paramount Fine Foods – مطاعم بارمونت went first hand to see the situation of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to bring the message back to Canada to make a difference. Inshaallah [Allah Willing]”
In a video produced by Islamic Relief Canada, Mohamad Fakih described his mission to Lebanon on behalf of Islamic Relief Canada:
“Peace be upon you everyone. I’m here in Lebanon and the Islamic Relief camps for Syrian refugees. I think this is going to help me to understand how small the job that I’ve been doing even if everybody thinks the opposite, but I do think that we are doing not enough yet. I think all Canadians, especially the Muslim community in Canada, can do a lot for these people. And most importantly, what I like the most there is a very educated approach by the staff to prepare these refugees, educate them and use their human power as a human resource to help them serve the rest of the refugees to make their life better. A lot of things needed here more than you expected, and the team work that’s been done by Islamic relief staff here in Lebanon shows that we’re way stronger together. And all what I’m going to take to Canada with me, to a lot of politicians, to the rest of the Islamic Relief team and most importantly my friend loaners and entrepreneurs like myself. I am Mohamad Fakih from Paramount Fine Food, the CEO of the company. I’m going to push them and probably ask them to come another visit with me to show them with their own eye and make sure that they put their money where their mouth is, and pay the money because the money’s needed yesterday, and I think we’re late. Thank you very much and thank you very much for the Islamic Relief Team here in Lebanon, a great job guys, thank you.”
On January 31, 2017 Paramount Fine Foods reached out to Islamic Relief Canada and confirmed they would like to support the community in Quebec by covering the costs of reconstruction at the mosque as well as the costs of the funeral rights for six Muslim victims of the shooting attack. Islamic Relief Canada’s national appeal for the Quebec mosque shooting victims raised just over $400, 000 which went directly to the victims families. The NGO also teamed up with Paramount Fine Foods CEO, Mohammed Fakih who covered all the funeral costs and mosque repairs.
Supported by the Fakih Foundation, Islamic Relief Canada launched in April 2018 a fundraising campaign through LaunchGood to support those who have been affected by the ramming attack at Yonge and Finch in Toronto in which 10 people lost their lives.
In response to the two terrorist attacks in Quebec and Ottawa (October 2014), Mohamad Fakih and Kashif Khan, CEO, The K. Khan Group, partnered with the True Patriot Love Foundation to create the Salaam-TPL Fund by donating $100K, and challenging other Muslim business leaders to help support the $1M goal in support of the needs of Canadian Veterans and military families. Mohamad Fakih clarified: “Our support of our veterans is by no means a support of what the government is doing in Iraq or Afghanistan.”
Supporting Motion M-103 – (Anti-Islamophobia)
On February 18, 2017 Mohamad Fakih posted:
“As a proud Canadian, I cherish all our rights and freedoms. I have always valued the progressive nature of our country where everyone is not only welcomed but included and where hatred and intolerance are shunned by the vast majority of Canadians. We have proved to the world our diversity is our source of strength. I am heartened by the fact that Canadians have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community as they go through this difficult time. There is a lot of misinformation that is spreading rapidly, and I urge all of us to get the facts and finally put an end to the politics of fear and division. I am proudly supporting Motion 103 that calls on the government to recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear and condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination. I urge you all to support this motion by using this quick tool at www.endhatred.ca to message your MP and pass the link to your family and friends.”
On December 1, 2016 Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (Mississauga–Erin Mills) tabled motion M-103 entitled “Systemic racism and religious discrimination.” The following is the text of the motion:
“That, in the opinion of the House, the government should:
(a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear;
(b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it; and
(c) request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a study on how the government could
(i) develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada, while ensuring a community-centered focus with a holistic response through evidence-based policy-making,
(ii) collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities, and that the Committee should present its findings and recommendations to the House no later than 240 calendar days from the adoption of this motion, provided that in its report, the Committee should make recommendations that the government may use to better reflect the enshrined rights and freedoms in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Liberal Member of Parliament Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Quebec) sponsored a petition (e-411 Islam) condemning Islamophobia initiated on June 8, 2016 by Samer Majzoub, President of the Canadian Muslim Forum (المنتدى الاسلامي الكندي).
“Petition to the House of Commons
“Islam is a religion of over 1.5 billion people worldwide. Since its founding more than 1400 years ago, Muslims have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the positive development of human civilization. This encompasses all areas of human endeavors including the arts, culture, science, medicine, literature, and much more;
“Recently an infinitesimally small number of extremist individuals have conducted terrorist activities while claiming to speak for the religion of Islam. Their actions have been used as a pretext for a notable rise of anti-Muslim sentiments in Canada; and
“These violent individuals do not reflect in any way the values or the teachings of the religion of Islam. In fact, they misrepresent the religion. We categorically reject all their activities. They in no way represent the religion, the beliefs and the desire of Muslims to co-exist in peace with all peoples of the world.
“We, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to join us in recognizing that extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam, and in condemning all forms of Islamophobia.”
Sharing knowledge and inspiring young entrepreneurs
Mohamad Fakih serves as a source of inspiration for young entrepreneurs. He shares his experience and advice in lectures and recently in a series of articles:
- Fear and Stress, Actually a Motivator to Take Action, A Motivator for Entrepreneurship! (published on October 17, 2018)
- Do you have the Entrepreneur Personality or not? (published on October 10, 2018)
- 5 by 5 Matrix for Business Success (published on October 4, 2018)
- Economically Empowering Refugees, We Can Do It! (published on September 26, 2018)
- 15 Habits For Maximum Productivity (published on September 19, 2018)
- 15 Tools to Test Your Business Idea (published on September 12, 2018)
- 10 Ways to Validate Your Business Idea (published September 5, 2018)
- Together We Can Create Change (published on March 21, 2018)
On October 4, 2018 Mohamad Fakih posted on his LinkedIn and Facebook pages the article: “5 by 5 Matrix for Business Success.” Fakih’s article opens with the following statement: “I’m going to give you my 5 by 5 matrix for success.”
The article contains 684 words. 518 words, 75 percent of Fakih’s article from October 4, 2018, are identical to the text of the article “What are the responsibilities of a CEO?” that was published by Vinamra Parihar on August 11, 2017.
Below is Fakih’s article. The underlined portion of Fakih’s article is a direct copy of Vinamra Parihar article except for the word “CEO” which he changed to “leader”.
5 by 5 Matrix for Business Success, October 4, 2018
By Mohamad Fakih, CEO/ PRESIDENT OF PARAMOUNT FINE FOODS,
I’m going to give you my 5 by 5 matrix for success. And these suggestions are probably just as applicable to regular employment, so still relevant to any of you that just want jobs not entrepreneurship.
Success will not be a straight line but more like a plate of spaghetti, with lots of ups and downs, twists and turns. To be successful as an entrepreneur, or frankly in almost anything, you need to develop: Optimism, Resilience, Perseverance and something I call, Stick-to-it-ness. You just need to, as Winston Churchill famously said, “Never Give Up!”.
Now for some of my rules for Entrepreneurs that lead organizations or companies. These are similar to success as an entrepreneur but as you grow internationally you need to excel at leadership as well.
1. Own the vision. An entrepreneurial leader must determine and communicate the organization’s strategic direction. Until that’s settled, making decisions about anything else at the business is difficult. And without this, the company is merely a collection of people pursuing individual goals, guided by their own values.
While other people may help shape the strategic vision, the leader must be able to describe it in a clear, engaging and exciting way for all stakeholders. All the players in the organization should understand how this direction affects their job and daily responsibilities. Everything the leader does should support this vision. Too many leaders have allowed the strategic vision to be nothing more than slogans on a piece of paper rather than guidance informing all key decisions.
2. Provide the proper resources. Only the leader can perform the task of balancing resources — the two most important ones being capital and people. The leader must make both available in the proper quantities and at the right time for the company to succeed.
3. Build the culture. Culture is the set of shared attitudes, goals, behaviors and values that characterize a group. It adds up to how things get done at a company and influences the entirety of the employee experience and thus the customer experience. Every organized group of individuals develops a culture — whether it’s explicitly recognized or not — and the leader must constantly observe and be involved to achieve the desired culture.
The most critical part of culture is values: The leader ensures that those values are applied consistently from top to bottom, across all departments. A good culture makes people feel safe and respected, enabling them to perform at their best.
4. Make good decisions. A new leader is often surprised by the breadth of issues confronting him (or her). One minute the leader is discussing a new product, the next a human resources issue — and then along comes a legal issue. It’s impossible for anyone to be an expert in all aspects of the business, yet the leader is the person tasked with making the decisions. Many problems require a solution that will end up affecting multiple departments, and only the leader is empowered to take such an action. Everyone else can pass the buck from time to time, but the leader will make the final call when no one else will or can.
5. Oversee and deliver the company’s performance. Everyone agrees that the leader is ultimately responsible for a company’s performance. To be successful, he or she must take an active role in driving that performance. This requires maintaining a keen awareness of the firm’s industry and market and being in touch with the core business functions to ensure the proper execution of tasks.
The leader also serves as the interface between internal operations and external stakeholders. He or she needs to ascertain how different stakeholders expect the company to perform, interpret this for internal teams and then be sure the proper metrics accurately gauge performance. “You get what you measure” is an apt adage. The leader sets the bar for the level of performance to be reached, regardless of the company’s size, type, circumstances or stakeholders.
These are the areas that I focus on most to ensure success of my organization. What are your top 5 business success strategies?
2013 – A former employee filed an Ontario Human Rights complaint against Paramount and Fakih, alleging that a “worker of the employer made lewd and suggestive comments to her but, when she complained to the employer, management did not take any steps to address the situation” and that “on her last day of work, she was sexually assaulted by the other worker.” She also alleged that “Paramount allowed the security camera footage of the lunch room to be overwritten in the ordinary course or otherwise lost (spoliation of the evidence).” In an interview with the Toronto Star Mohamad Fakih responded to her allegations: “Fakih denies he ignored the woman’s complaints, saying he addressed the matter as soon as he learned of it. “She was our responsibility — we had to look after her,” he says. He says due to the sheer volume of workers, operators of large businesses sometimes have terrible incidents occur in their workplaces.” (Toronto Star)
2014 – a former employee filed an Ontario Human Rights complaint against Paramount and Fakih “alleging discrimination with respect to employment because of sex” and that “that she was subjected to sexual harassment/assault while in the employ of the organizational respondent.” The court document reads: “The organizational respondent and individual respondent Mohammed Fakih submitted that the applicant chose to commence a multiplicity of actions with a view to increase the costs to the respondents to motivate them to settle with the applicant. The respondents submitted that this practice is abuse of the legal system and that the Application, if not dismissed, should be heard at the earliest opportunity.”
2018 – According to a court document, “the Royal Bank of Canada (“RBC”) made a business loan to Versatile Holdings Inc., which operated a restaurant as a franchisee of Paramount Fine Foods at 85 Front Street East in Toronto, Ontario. Sardar Samiuddin Khan, Nida Shadid, and Shadid Saleem Khawaja signed guarantees. After more than a year of unsuccessful operations, Versatile Holdings surrendered the restaurant to the franchisor, and Versatile Holdings sought to rescind the franchise pursuant to the Arthur Wishart (Franchise Disclosure), 2000. With the cessation of restaurant operations, RBC called the business loan, but it was not repaid. RBC now moves for a summary judgment against Versatile Holdings and the guarantors… [ruling] I grant the RBC judgment against Versatile Holdings for the indebtedness owed under the loan agreements and against the guarantees to the limits of their guarantees plus costs on a full indemnity basis of $31,408.74. The loan indebtedness as of August 23, 2018 is: (a) $304,080.76 for the CSBFL loan; (b) $171,390.08 for the variable rate term facility; (c) $4,659.22 for the overdraft facility; and (d) $11,208.51 for the Visa facility.”
2018 – According to a court document, “the Royal Bank of Canada (“RBC”) made a business loan to Everest Group Inc., which operated a restaurant as a franchisee of Paramount Fine Foods at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto, Ontario. Yousaf Kahn, Zarmina S. Khan, and Shadid Saleem Khawaja signed guarantees. Everest Group ceased operations and sought to rescind the franchise. RBC called the business loan but was not repaid. RBC now moves for a summary judgment against Everest Group and the guarantors… [ruling] I grant RBC judgment against Everest Group for the indebtedness owed under the loan agreements and against the guarantees to the limits of their guarantees plus costs on a full indemnity basis of $33,411.78. The loan indebtedness as of August 23, 2018 is: (a) $300,411.68 for the CSBFL loan; (b) $213,070.27 for the variable rate term facility; (c) $10,546.33 for the overdraft facility; and (d) $11,589.32 for the Visa facility.”
2018 – Mohamad Fakih filed a defamation lawsuit against Ron Banerjee and Kevin Johnston. According to a court document, “This case is about a defamation lawsuit brought by the owners of a Middle Eastern restaurant against two men who made hateful comments about the restaurant in particular and Muslims in general.  This is a case about freedom of expression. But it is also about the limits to that constitutionally protected right. Expressions of hatred and bigotry towards racial, ethnic, religious, or other identifiable groups have no value in the public discourse of our nation.  It is alleged that the defendants, Mr. Banerjee and Mr. Johnston attended the Mississauga location of Paramount, a restaurant owned by Paramount Fine Foods and Mohamad Fakih, a Canadian-Muslim businessman, on July 20, 2017. A fundraiser had been organized for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the restaurant that day. A protest of the fundraiser had been organized, with members of the protest expressing displeasure about the government’s settlement of Omar Khadr’s lawsuit. It is alleged that both Mr. Banerjee and Mr. Johnston made comments on video that defamed the plaintiffs, Paramount Fine Foods and Mr. Fakih.  Mr. Banerjee brings a motion to dismiss this defamation action against him before trial. The motion is brought under a law designed to protect people engaged in expressions on matters of public interest from lawsuits aimed at stifling their right to freedom of expression. He also argues that the action should be dismissed because it is frivolous, vexatious, and an abuse of process.  For the reasons below, I find that Mr. Banerjee’s motion cannot succeed. The defamation action should not be dismissed.”