A prayer vigil was held outside of the restaurant Petra near 21st and Woodlawn on Friday. The restaurant was destroyed in a fire earlier this week and the words “Go Back” were found spray-painted behind the building. The owners of Petra are from Syria and Jordan. The cause of the fire still has not been determined. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle) theying@wichitaeagle.com
A prayer vigil was held outside of the restaurant Petra near 21st and Woodlawn on Friday. The restaurant was destroyed in a fire earlier this week and the words “Go Back” were found spray-painted behind the building. The owners of Petra are from Syria and Jordan. The cause of the fire still has not been determined. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle) theying@wichitaeagle.com

Local

Emprise Bank sets up fund to help burned Petra Restaurant

By Katherine Burgess

kburgess@wichitaeagle.com

November 10, 2017 09:35 AM

UPDATED November 10, 2017 09:40 AM

Emprise Bank has set up a relief fund to help Petra Mediterranean Restaurant, which was destroyed in an early morning fire Nov. 1.

Deposits can be made at any Emprise Bank location to the account titled “Rebuild Petra Restaurant.”

Owners Ranya Taha and Bashar Mahanweh bank with Emprise.

“Petra and Ranya Taha are valued customers of ours,” Emprise said in an emailed statement. “We frequently establish accounts for customers to assist during times of difficulty. We are delighted to have the opportunity to help.”

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After an Iraqi-American family was handcuffed and questioned when Emprise Bank couldn’t verify the legitimacy of a check, Taha and Mahanweh worked with Emprise Bank and the Wichita Police Department to build relationships between them and area Muslims.

Investigators have said the fire to Petra Mediterranean Restaurant was intentionally set and are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Hateful graffiti sprayed on back of restaurant that burned

Ranya Taha, the owner of Petra, talks about a fire that destroyed her family’s restaurant the night before. Some graffiti with the words “Go Back” were written on the back of the restaurant. Taha is from Syria and has lived in Wichita for 16 years. Investigators have not yet said what started the fire. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)

theying@wichitaeagle.com

Katherine Burgess: 316-268-6400, @KathsBurgess