Paris kosher supermarket hero becoming French citizen

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — France will grant citizenship to Lassana Bathily, the Muslim employee of a Paris kosher supermarket who hid shoppers during the deadly hostage siege.

A Malain citizen who has been in France since 2006, Bathily will be granted citizenship next week, AFP reported. The French news agency cited a statement issued by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who will preside at the ceremony.

Bathily filed an application for naturalization in July.

On Jan. 9, he led six hostages secretly into the supermarket’s refrigeration room, where they hid without the hostage taker’s knowledge before Bathily escaped the building. The hostages declined to escape with him, fearful they would be caught.

Outside the building, police initially believed he was the gunman and handcuffed Bathily for about an hour before he could prove his identity. Bathily then provided information to police that allowed them to storm the store without harming the hostages. Four people were killed in the attack.

An Internet petition to grant Bathily citizenship and present him with the Legion of Honor has garnered more than 295,000 signatures, according to AFP.

French President Francois Hollande called Bathily to congratulate him on his heroism and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid tribute to him during a memorial ceremony at the Great Synagogue in Paris.