ADL Honors Hanukkah Subway Hero Hassan Askari
New York, NY, December 19, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today recognized a Muslim student who came to the aid of several young adults physically assaulted in an anti-Semitic attack while riding the New York City subway. In recognition of Hassan Askari's courage in standing up to the hate, bigotry and violence he witnessed, ADL established the Stand-Up New Yorker Award, and made Mr. Askari its inaugural recipient.
In presenting the award, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, spoke of the importance of recognizing a good deed. "Hassan Askari did not hesitate for a moment. He saw hate being acted out and confronted it. Whether it occurs in the classroom, on the playing field, in the corporate boardroom, in public or in private, words of hate and bigotry and acts of hate and bigotry must be confronted. Hassan's was a courageous and inspiring act. He is a model for all of us, and as New Yorkers he makes us proud. We hope to give out this award many times in the future."
In accepting the award, Mr. Askari thanked ADL and was humble about his heroic actions. "My friends are proud of me for what I did, but I know every one of them would have done exactly the same. I did what any regular person would do."
On the night of December 7, several students were wishing each other Happy Hanukkah on the Q train, when a group of men and women hurled anti-Semitic epithets and physically assaulted them. Mr. Askari immediately came to their aid, putting himself squarely in the path of danger. He suffered numerous injuries. The ten were arrested and charged with assault.
"There were many people on the subway that night," said Jeffrey Parker, Associate Chairman of the ADL New York Regional Board, "but only one stood up to do the right thing."
The inscription on the Stand-Up New Yorker Award given to Mr. Askari reads: "With deep appreciation for taking civic responsibility and protecting innocent victims of a violent hate attack on the New York City subway."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.