Amidst the horrific news that's come out of Paris this week, a ray of humanity appears: a 24-year old Muslim grocery clerk, Lassana Bathily, who was working at the kosher market that came under terrorist siege the day after masked gunmen shot and killed 12 at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, managed to save 15 hostages by hiding them in the store's basement freezer when the gunmen took fire.
Bathily, a 24-year-old Muslim from Mali, was working in the store in the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood when the Islamist gunman burst in.
As panic ensued, up to 15 customers in the store hurried down to the store basement, when Bathily had an idea.
"When they ran down, I opened the door [to the freezer]," he told France's BFMTV.
He quickly shut off the freezer and switched off its light. As he closed the door to shelter the customers inside, he told them, "Stay calm here. I'm going out."
Eventually police raided the market, killing Coulibaly. As the hostages were freed from the freezer, they had a few words of thanks for Bathily. "They congratulated me," he told BFMTV.
France, home to the largest Muslim population in Europe, is still reeling from its deadliest week in decades, with businesses, schools, and even entire neighborhoods shut down in the aftermath of the attacks, which are credited to an Al Qaeda outpost operating in Yemen. The international community has stepped forward with an outpouring of support for France and the freedom of speech, utilizing the hashtag #jesuischarlie ("I am Charlie") on social media to express sympathy.
Screengrab via BuzzFeed.