Meet the Muslim restaurant worker who saved two women during Paris attacks

Published: November 16, 2015
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People are evacuated following an attack at the Bataclan concert venue in Paris, on November 13, 2015. At least 18 people were killed in multiple attacks in Paris Friday, including one near the Stade de France sports stadium. PHOTO: AFP

People are evacuated following an attack at the Bataclan concert venue in Paris, on November 13, 2015. At least 18 people were killed in multiple attacks in Paris Friday, including one near the Stade de France sports stadium. PHOTO: AFP

A Muslim restaurant worker on Friday night saved the lives of two injured women during the deadly Paris attacks that left over 129 dead and over 350 injured.

Recalling the horrifying incident, Safer, a Muslim of Algerian origin, said he was at work behind the bar of the Casa Nostra restaurant in Paris when the firing started.

Safer works at the Casa Nostra restaurant in Paris. PHOTO COURTESY: BBC

“I was at the counter. We heard explosions – really loud bangs. Everyone started screaming, glass rained down on us. It was awful. There was glass all over the place, hitting us in our faces,” he said.

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It was then he saw two injured women outside the restaurant. “I saw two women out on the terrace had been hit. One in the wrist and in the other in the shoulder. They were bleeding really badly.”

Despite the obvious danger, Safer decided to help the injured and ran outside to the wounded women when the firing paused briefly and brought them inside the restaurant.

“I picked them up and rushed them downstairs to the basement. I sat with them and tried to stop the bleeding,” Safer added.

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Recounting the horrors of that night, he said, “As we were downstairs, we could hear the gunfire continuing above. It was terrifying.”

As frightening as it was, they had in fact escaped much worse.

“When we came out we saw bodies in the street. So many were injured.”

Safer’s story resembles that of Lassana Bathily, who was hailed as a hero for hiding a group of frightened shoppers from the assault at the Kosher supermarket in January during the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Both, Safer and Bathily, are Muslim and both risked their lives.

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Their stories represent the complex nature of Muslim relations in France as the community fears repercussions of these attacks.

When asked about his thoughts on the killers carrying their attacks in the name of Islam, Safer said, “This has nothing to do with religion.”

“Real Muslims are not made for killing people,” he said. “These are criminals.”

Muslim guard prevented bomber from entering Stade de France

A Muslim security guard saved hundreds of lives when he stopped one of the suicide bombers from entering the Stade de France during the France-Germany exhibition game on Friday.

Zouheir, the guard at Stade de France, said at least one of the attackers had a ticket to the game and attempted to enter the 80,000-person venue, The Wall Street Journal reported.

He claimed that the attacker was discovered wearing an explosives vest when he was frisked at the entrance to the stadium about 15 minutes into the game.

Spectators gather on the pitch of the Stade de France stadium following the friendly football match between France and Germany in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on November 13, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

The attacker detonated his suicide vest while trying get away from security, he added.

Confirming the incident, a police officer said it is suspected that the attacker aimed to detonate his vest inside the stadium in order to provoke a deadly stampede.

The article originally appeared on BBC News

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Reader Comments (2)

  • ishrat salim
    Nov 16, 2015 - 7:37PM

    Now, no one will appreciate the heroic action of 2 Muslim guys, yet we are mourning over the Paris attack as if it was first time such incident happened & that too to a superior race. We are all human beings & equally saddened by such incident wherever happens, So let us not make Paris carnage look like an isolated incident. We in Pakistan have gone through much worse carnage than what happened in Paris but the outpour for sympathy & international media coverage was not as wide as this, why this discrimination ? are those innocent Parisians killed were from a superior race ? Unless, incidents like this is condemned with same media coverage in equal terms where ever it takes place, people will feel discriminated.Recommend

  • Dija
    Nov 17, 2015 - 8:53AM

    We also need to learn how composed and calm the Parisians were – surely they were sad and upset but I noticed that they remained so disciplined – no shouting no cursing like the way it happens here…the way people gathered to show their respect and love towards the ones who had lost their lives, holding candles and flowers…I respect that;I have never seen in my country people taking their own initiatives to come out and pray for the departed souls this way ever;pls allow me to say but we are very much self centered people and thinking about the humanity does not exist within us – ofcourse exceptions would be there but I am talking about the majority – as a Muslim I strongly condemn the act of violence and all the other acts of violence that is made in the name of any religion. Recommend

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