World Bulletin/News Desk
A Muslim man hid a group of shoppers, one with a baby, in a basement cold storage room at the Hyper Cacher supermarket to shield them from the gunman, the Guardian reported.
Lassana Bathily, 24, a Muslim shop assistant originally from Mali, was praised for risking his own life to save those led to safety.
“When they came running down I opened the door of the fridge,” he told French TV. “Several came in with me. I turned off the light and the fridge. When I turned off the cold, I put them in. I closed the door. I told them to stay calm and I said ‘you stay quiet there, I’m going back out’.”
According to the report, police originally thought Bathily was a conspirator when he managed to escape through a goods lift. “They told me, ‘get down on the ground, hands over your head’. They cuffed me and held me for an hour and a half as if I was with them,” he added. Once freed he was able to give them details of the layout of the store and where people were hiding.
City councillor Malik Yettou said that six people and a baby escaped the gunman by hiding there, while BFMTV put the number at about 15.
After the shootout he said that many of the customers he had helped came out and shook his hand. “When they got out, they thanked me,” he said.
The young man is being lauded as a hero on social media, and held up as a reminder of how wrong it is to demonize all Muslims in the wake of the attacks.
Several people took to social media to call for him to be officially recognised for his bravery as news of his actions spread. One tweet said: “A true hero of the hostage crisis in the kosher grocery store yesterday.’
Another read “Lassana Bathily, Muslim worker at Paris kosher shop, hid people, incl. baby.” A photograph of Bathily, labelled Malian Muslim, has been retweeted around the world as a symbol of the good of some people in the face of terrorism.
Malik Zadi, a 25-year-old Muslim of Algerian heritage, told The Washington Post that the attack was aimed at Jews but noted that Muslims were likely to be hostages, as well. "It's a kosher store, but not only Jews go there. I go there," Zadi said. "In this neighborhood, there are Muslims, Jews, Christians. It's like Paris. It's a melting pot. Cohabitation."Last Mod: 11 Ocak 2015, 12:45