Vandals strike Arab-owned Philly coffee shop prompting peaceful rally in support of owner

A peaceful rally was held in front of a Queen Village café Friday after the Arab-owned Lombard Café was vandalized this week and many people, including Governor Josh Shapiro, are condemning the incident.

"I was very upset and angry when I heard about this, knowing this was a neighborhood business and someone who is welcoming and open to everyone regardless of race and religion," stated customer Samantha Pinto.

Customers at Lombard Café love the shop for their coffee, breakfast sandwiches and community, but Friday they gathered to show support in a different way, gathering with clergy, civic and political leaders.

The café is publicly pro-Palestine. They say they’ve faced harassment for months and this week the store was broken into.

Owner Jasmine Amira Taibi-Bennoui described the scene, as she found it, "My door to the back hallway that we share with our tenants was open, which is normally dead bolted. It had been pried open with, I thought I saw crowbar marks on the door. I came through the back exit and I found that the door was open, as well, and there were also crowbar marks on the door."

She says her security cameras were unplugged, the cash register had been tampered with, doors damaged from being pried open and the vandals left a message behind with stickers.

"When I came back outside, I came around the front and there were pro-Israel stickers but not only that, but there were white power stickers all over the front of my shop," Jasmine added.

She is a First-Generation Arab-American and feels the stickers show what the attack was about.

"We go the extra mile to secure the space," Jasmine said. "We put on deadbolts, we put out cameras and that has to be enough. I’m at the point where I’m not sure what else I can do."

Governor Shapiro acknowledged the incident on X, stating, in part, "Vandalism of any kind against our small businesses is unacceptable."

In the meantime, the community at 6th and Lombard plans on showing up for Jasmine and the café.

"There’s no place for antisemitism, Islamophobia – any of that kind in our city," Pennsylvania state senator, Nikil Saval said.