“Paris, France – A young Muslim man is being hailed as a hero in French newspapers and social media for his actions during Friday’s deadly hostage situation in a Paris supermarket.
“According to French television station BFMTV, an employee at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Vincennes by the name of Lassana Bathily, 24, helped guide a group of hostages into a downstairs walk-in freezer while gunman Amedy Coulibaly was allegedly preparing to kill them.
“Bathily, a “practicing Muslim,” says he entered the freezer with some people, then switched off the freezer and the light and told everyone to stay calm, according to BFMTV.
” “I’m the one (who) is going to go out,” he reportedly told them. “I took the elevator and went upstairs.” He also said to BMFTV: “(Coulibaly) asked us to all come upstairs, otherwise he would kill everyone who was downstairs.”
“He exited a freight elevator and ran outside. Bathily, originally from Mali, was apprehended by police, but helped them by describing the location of the freezer.
“Bathily also said: “when (the hostages) came out, they congratulated me.” According to French newspaper L’Express, the exact number of hostages who remained safe in the freezer is unknown.
“Coulibaly was killed in the ensuing shootout with police. Authorities said he killed four Jewish hostages. Rudi Hadad, among those in the freezer, said that a few others went back upstairs after the incident.
“France’s “L’Express” newspaper ran a headline titled: “Lassana Bathily, ‘Malian Muslim,’ hero of the hostage situation in Vincennes.”
“For the courage displayed in a time when most others would likely cower, the Jewish community of Paris has made a decision to award Mr. Bathily with a certificate of “Kosher Muslim,”’ said a community spokesman on Saturday.
He added: “the Jewish people around the world are well aware of the fact that this is a historical precedent, but we’re sure that they all agree that credit must be given where credit is due.”
Lassana Bathily was unavailable for comment at the time.