A Muslim Bangladeshi student is to be honoured by the mayor of New York on Wednesday for helping three Jewish people who were being beaten up.

Hassan Askari has been described as a “latter-day Good Samaritan” for coming to the aid of the three, who were attacked earlier this month.

A gang yelling anti-Semitic slogans had assaulted them on the city’s subway.

His intervention left him with a possible broken nose, a stitched lip, bruises and two black eyes.

‘One family’

But it was sufficient for the attackers to turn their attention on him and allow one of those who was being attacked to raise the alarm and call the police.

“I was brought up to believe that you cannot walk away from an incident like this,” he told the BBC.

“I felt I could not just stand there and watch these people being beaten up without doing anything to help.

“I believe we are all members of one family, and my religion teaches me always to come to the aid of my fellow man in distress.”

The slightly-built accountancy student – who comes from an aristocratic Bengali family – was travelling from home on 9 December when he saw the attack take place on a crowded train.

Mr Askari has three forefathers who were knighted by British monarchs during the days of the Raj and is a member of the Dhaka Nawab family, an important political dynasty in the Indian subcontinent.

Around 10 people were attacking the three Jews after an argument had broken out.

“As the quarrel turned progressively more violent, scores of people on the train ignored the fight and didn’t want to have anything to do with it,” said Marc Scheier, a rabbi from the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, who presented Mr Askari with a bravery award earlier this month.

“Mr Askari – like the Good Samaritan – was the only person brave enough to intervene.

“The symbolism of his action at Christmas time is striking – a foreign Muslim coming to the aid of three Jews in an act of kindness and cooperation.

“People often forget that Judaism and Islam aren’t so far apart as the radicals from both sides would have us believe. We are both Abrahamic religions and in many respects share a common faith.”


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