Hassan Askari, the Muslim who defended Walter Adler, a Jewish man who was being attacked by a gang of ten on the New York City subway, was invited to and attended a Hanukkah celebration with Walter. Congratulations to both Hassan and Walter. God Willing, may all of us be like Hassan and Walter. Peace on earth.
According to the Daily News, the Good Samaritan who tried to stop the Christmas-versus-Chanukah subway beating has two black eyes and a sore nose – but no regrets.
“I did what I thought was right,” said Hassan Askari, 20. “I did the best that I could to help.”
Askari, a Bangladeshi Muslim studying at Berkeley College in Manhattan, was on a Q train headed to Brooklyn late Friday when he came to the aid of young women confronted by a group of 10 thugs.
Fearful for the women’s safety, he pushed one of the men away – and was then pounced on by the group, he said.
“They grabbed me and punched and beat me up,” Askari said.
“They punched me first. I didn’t get a chance to punch him back.”
Askari, all of 5-feet-7 and 140 pounds, said he was left with a swollen face.
He said he didn’t go to the doctor because he’s too busy working two waiter jobs and doesn’t have the money for medical care.
He was mystified as to why the men became so outraged when the women and their male friends wished them a “Happy Chanukah” while they were yelling “Merry Christmas” on the train car.
“I don’t understand,” he said. “They were just being nice.”
New Yorkers Hassan Askari and Walter Adler were also honored by Foundation for Ethnic Understanding Wednesday for their role in preventing anti-Semitic attack on subway. “We salute these young men for their courage in not allowing their faith come between them in a time of need. They are leading by example,” said Foundation President Rabbi Marc Schneier. Please click here to read about this event.
Please note that Hassan Askari is not the exception among Muslims worldwide. He is what all Muslims are expected to be, and he behaved in the manner that all Muslims are expected to behave when they see a fellow human being needing help.
Askari Update: December 19, 2007 :
Recently, at City Hall, Hasan Askari was honored for his altruism and bravey. Mayor Bloomberg presented Askari with a crystal apple that had been donated by Tiffany’s. It is interesting to note that Hasan was once the victim of ethnic intimidation himself: after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he was on a trip to New Orleans when a group of men harassed him, yelling ”Go home, Osama!” He found this type of intimidation and harassment “very hurtful.” Last week, Mr. Askari said he was thinking only of helping his “fellow man” when he jumped into the fray on the Q train to protect the Jewish students as they were being beaten.
“You have to do what you can to help,” he said. “This gives a positive message to everyone in the city and the country.”
1. New York Post article: Jew’s subway hero: A Muslim