Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yeah, and Merry Christmas to you, too!

This story won't be up much longer at the Strib, so Spot reproduces it entirely:

Muslim student's aid in New York City subway attack leads to interfaith friendship

Associated Press

Last update: December 12, 2007 - 5:13 AM

A suspected bias attack on four Jewish subway riders has resulted in a friendship between the Jewish victims and the Muslim college student who came to their aid.

Walter Adler is calling Hassan Askari a hero for intervening when Adler and three friends were assaulted on a subway train in lower Manhattan on Friday night.

The altercation erupted when Adler and his friends said "Happy Chanukah" to a group yelling "Merry Christmas" on the Brooklyn-bound train.

The 20-year-old Askari said he tried to fight off the 10 attackers, giving Adler a chance to summon police by pulling an emergency brake.

"I did what I thought was right," said Askari, a student at Berkeley College in Manhattan, who was allegedly punched and beaten. "I did the best that I could to help."

Eight men and two women have pleaded not guilty to assault, menacing and other charges in the case. Prosecutors have said the charges could be upgraded to hate crimes.

"That a random Muslim kid helped some Jewish kids, that's what's positive about New York," said Adler, 23, who suffered a broken nose and a lip wound.

This happened on a Friday night, the beginning of the Sabbath for Jews, during Chanukah. Have a Merry Christmas, or we'll kick your ass!

The interesting twist on this story is, of course, that the guy who broke the thing up was a Muslim. A really gutsy Muslim at that. Talk about not having an, er, dog in the fight! It's enough to make one stop and think when he hears Peace on earth and good will to men! from the pulpit tomorrow night.

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