An award fitting for a hero: Lassana Bathily will be given French citizenship for saving lives at a kosher market in Paris when a gunman came in and took several people hostage. The Malian national worked in the market and led customers to a walk-in freezer, hiding them from harm. AFP reports that more than 200,000 people signed a petition calling for his naturalization, and they got their wish when French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that Bathily's citizenship application, which he filed in July, would be expedited. A ceremony, which will be conducted by the interior minister himself, will be held next Tuesday.
It's well deserved. Bathily, who is only 24 years old, has been living in France since 2006, and he's shown that his selfless actions during the hostage situation were born out of an altruistic worldview. Attention has been given to the fact that Bathily, who is a practicing Muslim, protected Jewish people from the gunman, but is that really so surprising? He told French news station BFM TV:
We're brothers. It's not a question of Jews, Christians or Muslims. We're all in the same boat, and we have to help one another to get out of this crisis.