antisemitism,  France

Hero and villain

Rarely do you find such a stark dichotomy between good and evil.

The Associated Press reports on Lassana Bathily, the young Muslim immigrant from Mali, who was working at the kosher market in Paris when the the terrorist gunman Amedy Coulibaly burst in and killed four Jewish shoppers.

Bathily turned off the stockroom’s freezer and hid a group of frightened shoppers inside before sneaking out through a fire escape to speak to police. Initially confused for the attacker, he 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.

“The guy was so courageous,” said Mohammed Amine, a 33-year-old friend and former coworker of Bathily’s who spoke to him about the assault on Saturday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Bathily during a visit to a Paris synagogue Sunday night.

“I want to express my appreciation to the Mali citizen who helped save seven Jews,” Netanyahu said to thunderous applause.

I’m not optimistic, but I hope that whenever people are tempted to resort to essentialist views about Muslims and monolithic views about Islamic beliefs, they will remember Lassana Bathily.

Meanwhile, the antisemitic “comedian” Dieudonne reacted in the noxious way we’ve come to expect from him.

In a statement on his Facebook page after the 1,500,000 strong “march against hatred” in Paris , Dieudonné declared: “As far as I am concerned, I feel I am Charlie Coulibaly” [a reference to the mass murderer at the kosher market].