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Student hero in Hanukkah melee honored by Sabini

The courageous straphanger who stepped in when a group of thugs attacked four Jewish people in the subway was given a hero’s homecoming by the Queens Bangladeshi community.
On Friday, December 21, Hasanuzzaman Hassan, representing the Bangladeshi-American Public Affairs Front and the America Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industry, handed over $250 as a token of gratitude to 20-year-old Muslim college student Hassan Askari.
“As a Muslim, we are proud of him. As a fellow Bangladeshi we are proud,” Hassan said, explaining that the money was a small token of the gratitude felt by his fellow country people. Hassan said that the group hoped Askari, who works two part-time jobs, could use the money for his accounting studies at Berkeley College in Manhattan.
“Two, three weeks back, we had a serious cyclone in Bangladesh … Now we have good news,” Hassan said of Askari’s actions.
On Friday, December 7, Askari came to the aid of four Jewish revelers, including 23-year-old Walter Adler, who was reportedly attacked on the Q train in Brooklyn after they wished “Happy Hanukkah” to a dozen troublemakers that told them “Merry Christmas.”
Askari stepped in, tried to fight off the assailants, and gave one of the victims a chance to get help by pulling the train’s emergency brake.
Since the incident, a newfound friendship has formed between Askari and Adler, who joked that his girlfriend complained he spends more time with Askari than she does. Adler credits Askari with saving his life.
When asked at the event in Jackson Heights’ “Little Bangladesh,” what they thought of the expression that Jews and Muslims are cousins, Adler joked, “and Hassan is my brother.”
However, the humble hero brushed off the praise.
“I did what I did because it was the right thing to do,” Askari said. “That alone makes me feel great, but everyone’s kindness and generosity are icing on the cake.”
For his actions, State Senator John Sabini presented Askari with an award for “Exhibiting courage and valor for his fellow New Yorkers.” Sabini praised Askari for using the “Golden Rule,” treating others how he would like to be treated.
In addition, Democratic District Leader at Large Mohammed Aminullah gave Askari an unlimited monthly Metrocard.
Since the incident, Askari has been honored by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at City Hall and presented with more than $5,000 for his bravery.
Juhaib Choudhury, the Director of Tri-State Muslim Media, Inc. said that Askari’s actions epitomized good works written about in Muslim doctrine.
“If you save a life, it’s as if you saved all of humanity,” Choudhury said of Koran text.

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