A Muslim boy is being touted as a "hero" after he saved a group of young Jewish subway-goers from a brutal beating by a gang of Christian thugs in New York, press reports said Wednesday.
The incident took place last Friday night, when 23-year old Jewish man, Walter Adler, boarded a New York subway train with three female friends.
According to Adler, someone in another group wished them "Merry Christmas" and he and his friends replied, "Happy Hanukkah."
Soon, the group of about 14 Christian men and women attacked the Jewish group, calling them "dirty Jews" and "Jew bit***s," the New York Post reported.
Amid the huge scrum, 20-year-old Bangladeshi Muslim student, Hassan Askari jumped in. He pushed one of the men away, and was then pounced on by the group.
"They grabbed me and punched and beat me up," Askari said. "I didn't get a chance to punch him back," the New York Daily News quoted him as saying.
Askari's interference allowed Adler to pull the emergency brake, which alerted police to trouble on the train, the paper said.
Askari, who was left with two black eyes and a sore nose, said he has no regrets: "I just did what I had to do…My parents raised me that way."
"In Islam it teaches you to be helpful to your fellow man, to be kind, courteous," he told the Post.
The Jewish victim Adler said he was amazed by Askari's bravery: "A random Muslim guy jumped in and helped a Jewish guy on Hanukkah - that's a miracle."
Adler said he and his friends might have been beaten to death, but for Hassan: "He was the only person to help us…He's basically a hero," said Adler, who also suffered a broken nose and required four stitches to close a lip wound.
Adler invited his new friend over to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights. The two men reportedly broke bread together and laughed off their injuries.
Askari, who is studying to be an accountant, said he hasn't gone to the doctor because he's too busy working two waiter jobs and doesn't have money for medical care, the Daily News said.
New York Police arrested ten people in the underground attack - including two men who have been arrested for race crimes before.