Immigration is not just a hot topic in the United States. All around the world, countries struggle with the balancing act of meeting the needs of both citizens and immigrants. In France earlier this month, government officials honored the heroic acts of 24-year-old Malian immigrant, Lassana Bathily. Mr. Bathily is credited with saving many lives during a terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in January. Four were killed during the horrific ordeal.
Bathily was working at the kosher store on January 9 when Islamic extremist Amedy Coulibaly carried out his assault. Putting his own life at risk during the attack, Bathily helped customers by ushering them to safety, hidden in a back storage room. He not only saved their lives, but was able to escape himself and aid French police to end the attack. French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve along with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, honored Bathily with a medal and also granted him French citizenship. Cazeneuve praised Bathily’s bravery in saving the customers, and noted that it was an “act of humanity [which] has become a symbol of an Islam of peace and tolerance.” For his part, Bathily was humble about his actions and expressed his happiness at being granted dual citizenship.