Lassana Bathily will be awarded French citizenship following a decision by the Ministry of Interior. Bathily, who saved the lives of many including an infant after hiding them in a deep freezer, filed for naturalization in July of 2014.
Lassana Bathily will be naturalized in a public ceremony next week, and the Muslim hero will also be handed the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest award of merit.
Bathily’s naturalization process was also helped when a petition on Change.org received more than 300,000 votes. The Malian’s courageous efforts was seen as a beacon of hope during the horrific attacks in Paris.
Initially confused for the attacker, Bathily was forced to the ground and handcuffed.
Once police realized their mistake, he provided them with the key they needed to open the supermarket’s metal blinds and mount their assault.
Bathily described the events.
“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… 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.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also praised Lassana Bathily during a visit to a Paris synagogue.
“I want to express my appreciation to the Mali citizen who helped save seven Jews,” Netanyahu said to thunderous applause.
Finally, Lassana declared, “I am a Muslim, practicing. I’ve already done my prayers in this store, in the storehouse. And yes, I helped the Jews. We are brothers. This is not a question of Jews, Christians or Muslims, we are all in the same boat.”
Lassana Bathily’s moment of bravery shall be heralded for not only saving the lives of many, but also a great tale of brotherhood. His efforts have been rightly rewarded.
[Image courtesy of europe1.fr]