A clothes shop owned by Jamil Fadlallah in Sao Paulo.
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Jamil Fadlallah left Lebanon in 1979 without any money or legal papers, seeking an escape from the Lebanese Civil War, then in its fourth year.Like millions of Lebanese, Fadlallah headed west to leave behind the economic unrest, political turmoil and long periods of security instability that plague Lebanon.It is a story repeated across Brazil, reportedly home to nearly 7 million people of Lebanese descent.Miled Khoury, owner of Sawary Jeans factory in Sao Paulo, left Lebanon over 20 years ago and started his business in Brazil. Khoury was luckier than Fadlallah because some of his family had already relocated to Brazil years before he moved there. Despite finding success in the South American country, Lebanese-Brazilian industrialists interviewed by The Daily Star say doing business in Brazil has its own challenges.Khoury added that employers were also responsible for paying an additional month's bonus salary for each worker, because the law in Brazil forced businesses to pay 13 moths' salaries instead of 12 per year.Mattar said that one of the main challenges facing the Lebanese in Brazil was a lack of cooperation among each other.
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