(JTA) – The Muslim employee who saved Jewish shoppers during a terrorist attack on a Paris kosher supermarket was honoured in New York.
Lassana Bathily was presented with an official city proclamation last Friday by Mayor Bill de Blasio for his actions in the Hyper Cacher siege on Jan. 9.
Bathily, an immigrant from Mali, was in the basement when a gunman entered the store. He hid 15 Jewish shoppers, including a two-year-old child, in the supermarket freezer.
De Blasio called Bathily a “real hero” who “stood up to protect human life even when his own life is in danger,” the New York Daily News reported. The meeting took place at the Islamic Center of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn.
Bathily was flown in to be recognized at the annual scholarship dinner of the New York Police Department’s Muslim Officers Society, according to the newspaper.
Earlier in the week, the American Jewish Committee presented Bathily with its Moral Courage Award at its 2015 Global Forum in Washington, D.C.
“What I did was place people out of danger and ensure their safety – something everybody can do when they find themselves in such an extreme situation,” Bathily told AJC. “If it were to happen again tomorrow, I would do exactly the same thing because, for me, this is a normal and humane response.”
At the forum, AJC presented posthumous awards citing Dan Uzan, a Jewish volunteer security guard murdered while protecting a Copenhagen synagogue in February, and Zidan Sief, an Israeli Druze policeman killed while trying to stop a terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue last November.
In January, Bathily, who has lived in Paris for nine years, was granted citizenship at a Paris ceremony after his application, initially filed last summer, was expedited in response to a public campaign on his behalf.