A Muslim man, Lassana Bathily, who saved several shoppers’ lives during the Paris terrorist attack has been granted French citizenship.
Bathily, an employee at Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Vincennes, helped to guide a group of hostages into a downstairs walk-in freezer while the gunman was preparing to kill them Jan 9.
Bathily, who was given French citizenship Tuesday, was praised by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve during a ceremony in the presence of Prime Minister Manuel Valls Tuesday, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
He was hailed as a hero by the French media for saving many during the hostage crisis in the Paris supermarket.
They were taken hostage by Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four Jewish hostages Jan 9 before being shot dead by police. He is also believed to have shot dead a policewoman the day before.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Mali-born Bathily’s act of humanity has become a symbol of an Islam of peace and tolerance.
“Tonight I am very proud and deeply touched,” 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.”
Bathily has lived in France for the past nine years and applied for citizenship last year.
Three days of violence began in Paris Jan 7 when brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi burst into the office of a French magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people.