Muslim Who Saved Jewish Hostages Gets Citizenship

Mali man gets reward for brave action last Friday in Paris kosher market, as Hollande at funerals says 'Muslims main victims of fanaticism.'

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris
Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris
Serge Attal/Flash 90

A Muslim man from Mali, described as a "hero" after he helped Jewish hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris hide during the attack last Friday in which four Jews were murdered, will be awarded French nationality next Tuesday, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

Lassana Bathily (24), who has lived in France since 2006, had applied in July last year for French nationality, and Cazeneuve, praising his "bravery", said in a statement he would be given it at a ceremony on Tuesday.

Bathily was working in the Hyper Cacher store when the Islamist gunman Amedy Coulibaly burst in. 

Up to 15 of the customers who were in the store ran down to the store basement, when Bathily had an idea and opened the freezer door, shutting it behind them and switching off its light.

The announcement comes as French President Francois Hollande said Thursday that Muslims were the "main victims" of fanaticism, as five of the 17 people killed in last week's Islamist attacks in Paris were laid to rest.

Speaking at the Arab World Institute in Paris, Hollande said: "It is Muslims who are the main victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism and
intolerance", adding the whole country was "united in the face of terrorism."

Members of the Muslim community in France, Europe's largest, have "the same rights and the same duties as all citizens" and must be "protected," the president vowed.

While Hollande may have called Muslims the "main victims" who need protection, the deployment of security in France belies that claim.

France has deployed armed police to protect synagogues and Jewish schools, with a full 10,000 troops called up to guard against attacks within the country.

The five buried included two of Charlie Hebdo's best-known cartoonists. Even as the ceremonies took place, the satirical magazine continued to fly off the shelves, sparking fury in some parts of the Muslim world for depicting the Mohammed on its cover.

Georges Wolinski, 80, and Bernard "Tignous" Verlhac, 57, were buried at private family funerals after they were gunned down by two Islamist brothers in the attack last Wednesday claimed by Al-Qaeda.

Thousands braved drizzle outside the town hall memorial service for Tignous, laying flowers under a huge portrait of the cartoonist as his wife Chloe paid tribute inside.

His cartoon-covered coffin was carried through an applauding crowd for final burial.

Several hundred people including Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, paid tribute at the burial of Franck Brinsolaro, 49, a police protection officer who was killed in the Charlie Hebdo editorial meeting.

Many wore "Je suis Francky" (I am Francky) badges.

AFP contributed to this report.




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