French authorities have honored a Mali-born employee who saved lives at the kosher supermarket attacked by terrorists as a hero and granted him French citizenship.
Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised Muslim, 24, for his "courage" and "heroism" during a ceremony Tuesday in the presence of Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
Cazeneuve said Bathily's "act of humanity has become a symbol of an Islam of peace and tolerance."
Bathily was in the store's underground stockroom when gunman Amedy Coulibaly burst in upstairs on January 9 and killed four people. He turned off the stockroom's freezer and hid a group of shoppers inside before sneaking out through a fire escape to speak to police and help them with their operation to free the 15 hostages and kill the attacker.
Bathily emigrated to France from Mali in 2006. France has decided to award him French nationality for his bravery during the attacks.
Bathily is "a righteous one among the righteous who should serve as a role model to our youth," Pierre Henry, the president of the French government's refugee assistance agency, said, according to NBC.
"Lassana Bathily enriches us by joining the French nation," Henry said, NBC reported.
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