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A Hero Is A Hero

There's something a little unseemly about how the New York tabloids have chosen to frame the story of Hassan Askari, the brave young man who rushed to the aid of four Jewish subway-goers on the Q train Tuesday. They were … Read More

By / December 13, 2007

There's something a little unseemly about how the New York tabloids have chosen to frame the story of Hassan Askari, the brave young man who rushed to the aid of four Jewish subway-goers on the Q train Tuesday. They were being beaten by a group of anti-Semitic thugs who, upon having their shout of "Merry Christmas" returned with a friendly "Happy Hanukkah," took it upon their pious selves to bludgeon the "dirty Jews" and Christ-killers. As is always the case with mouth-breathing bigots, their Biblical history is as smart as they are: they think Hanukkah celebrates the crucifixion of the rebel rebbe. Also, check out their MySpace mugs.

The New York Post ran the story on its cover under the somewhat goopy and meretricious headline "Peace Train." (One hopes that a single act of courage and humanitarianism on the part of a New Yorker will do what Annapolis failed to do.) Inside the paper was the even more shin-kicking, "Jews' Subway Hero a Muslim." Ah, to have been a fly on the wall during the editorial meeting that decided that one in favor of the alternatives: "Lox and Hummus," "It's All Kosher," "Two State Solution Running Local."

Walter Adler was touched that Hassan Askari jumped to his aid while a group of thugs allegedly pummeled and taunted him and his three friends. So Adler has invited his new friend over to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

The two new pals – Adler, 23, with a broken nose and a fat lip, and Askari, 20, with two black eyes – broke bread together and laughed off the bruises the night after the fisticuffs.

"A random Muslim guy jumped in and helped a Jewish guy on Hanukkah – that's a miracle," said Adler, an honors student at Hunter College.

With all due respect to a poor kid nursing a black eye, it's hardly a miracle, and it's rather condescending to call it that. Are Palestinians and Israelis fated to loathe each other? Of course not. Are American Muslims and American Jews? Don't be so silly. The biggest moral disaster of talking and reporting as though the exception proves the rule would mean that had Askari done nothing, it'd have been because he was Muslim.

His modesty only offsets the sensationalism of the kind of heart-warming item that, as they say in the trade, "writes itself": "I just did what I had to do. My parents raised me that way."

Uh huh.

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