Fatima and Atteager remember their dad’s café (which first opened on Monton Rd and later moved to Church St). It opened around 1962 and is believed to have been the first Arabic café in the area.
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It was somewhere for the Arab men to sit. They’d come in my Dad’s café and they’d sit playing cards all day. And they’d buy cups of tea or they’d have some soup. It was just somewhere they could gather together…it just had table and chairs in, and one of them had a jukebox so we’d put music on for them…Arab music and English music…
Everybody loved him [Mohammad Kasseum] and everybody called him ‘Aba ‘(because Aba means Dad in Arab). But everybody called him Aba. “Hiya Aba” when they’d come in the café. Even the English people when they’d come in…he was just a brilliant man. An absolutely brilliant man. He wouldn’t see anybody go hungry. He never let anybody go hungry. They’d say “Oh I can smell that soup”. “Do you want some?” “I’ve got no money.” But he’d still give it to them. Always give it to them. He’d never see anybody go hungry. Everybody knew him, everybody.