Muslim employee who saved lives at Kosher supermarket in Paris praised for his courage as he is granted citizenship by France
Mali-born Lassana Bathily, 24, saved lives during Paris attacks
Kosher grocery employee turned off freezer and hid shoppers
He then sneaked out and helped police outside free the hostages
Bathily was granted French citizenship and praised for his ‘heroism’
The Muslim kosher supermarket employee who saved several shoppers lives during the Paris attack has been granted French citizenship.
Lassana Bathily, 24, was praised for his ‘courage and heroism’ by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve during a ceremony in the presence of Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
Mr Cazeneuve said Mali-born Bathily’s ‘act of humanity has become a symbol of an Islam of peace and tolerance.’
Tonight I’m very proud and deeply touched,’ Mr Bathily, who went to school in Paris, said with tears in his eyes.
He humbly stressed that he does not consider himself a hero, saying: ‘I am Lassana. I’ll stay true to myself.’
‘People are all equal to me and skin color isn’t a matter. France is the country of human rights,’ he added.
Mr Bathily was in the store’s underground stockroom when gunman Amedy Coulibaly burst in to the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, Paris, on January 9 and killed four people.
The 24-year-old guided terrified customers to safety in a supermarket chiller and has since been praised around the world for his quick-thinking and bravery.
Mr Bathily, who reportedly led six people to safety, told BFMTV: ‘When they ran down, I opened the door [of the freezer].
‘There are several people who came to me. I turned off the light, I turned off the freezer.
‘When I turned off the cold, I put them [hostages] in, I closed the door, I told them to stay calm.’
Using a goods lift he escaped and was able to give the police valuable information about what was happening inside and where the hostages were hiding.
Shy and reluctant to tell his story, Mr Bathily, who went to school in Paris, admitted that after the shoot-out many of the customers came to shake his hand and thank him for what he did.
Bathily has lived in France since 2006, attending school in the capital
He had filed an application for French citizenship last year.
Pic1: The Hero
Pic2: Hostages in the freezer
Pic:3 Police Storm the supermarket
Pic4: The hero meet with Kerry