Muslim clerk in Paris grocery store saved Jewish lives

A Muslim clerk in the Jewish grocery store that was attacked by a terrorist on Friday proved to be a hero when he risked his life to save several Jewish shoppers.

Lassana Bathily led 15 Jewish customers into a first floor walk-in freezer when Amedy Coulibaly burst into the store firing his weapon.

USA Today:

Lassana Bathily, 24, a store employee and a Muslim man from Mali, led 15 people downstairs to safety, hiding several inside a freezer in the grocery's basement, according to French broadcaster BFMTV.

"I went down to the freezer, I opened the door, there were several people who went in with me. I turned off the light and the freezer," Bathily told the television station. "I brought them inside and I told them to stay calm here, I'm going to go out. When they got out, they thanked me."

Gunman Amedy Coulibaly, 32, killed four when he opened fire on the store before taking hostages. Police later stormed the store in an eruption of gunshots and explosions, rescuing 15 hostages and killing Coulibaly.

In an address to the nation Friday evening, French President François Hollande said the deadly attack on the market was unquestionably "an anti-Semitic attack."

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."

Reports indicated Bathily was able to slip out of the store using either a freight elevator or a contraption similar to a dumbwaiter. He was then able to get to police and provide information that helped the officers end the standoff.

Judging someone based solely on which god they worship is shallow and stupid. "Any man who judges by the group is a peawit," muttered the crusty old sargeant in "Gettysburg." Mr. Bathily reminds us of how true that statement is.


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