A suspected bias attack on four Jewish subway riders has resulted in a friendship between the Jewish victims and the Muslim college student who came to their aid.
Walter Adler is calling Hassan Askari a hero for intervening when Adler and three friends were assaulted on a subway train in lower Manhattan on Friday night.
The altercation erupted when Adler and his friends said "Happy Hanukkah" to a group yelling "Merry Christmas" on the Brooklyn-bound train.
The 20-year-old Askari said he tried to fight off the 10 attackers, giving Adler a chance to summon police by pulling an emergency brake.
"I did what I thought was right," said Askari, a student at Berkeley College in Manhattan, who was allegedly punched and beaten. "I did the best that I could to help."
Eight men and two women have pleaded not guilty to assault, menacing and other charges in the case. Prosecutors have said the charges could be upgraded to hate crimes.
"That a random Muslim kid helped some Jewish kids, that's what's positive about New York," said Adler, 23, who suffered a broken nose and a lip wound.
ADL lauds police, Askari's courage
The Anti Defamation League applauded the New York City Police Wednesday for the arrests of 10 individuals suspected in the "vicious, unprovoked, and prolonged" anti-Semitic attack on the students.
'We were shocked and saddened to hear of the vicious, unprovoked and prolonged anti-Semitic attack perpetrated against four Jewish students celebrating Hanukkah.
"We applaud the speed and efficiency of the NYPD and its Hate Crimes Task Force in treating this bias incident seriously, and look forward to seeing the perpetrators prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the grouo said in a statement.
"We recognize the courage of the fellow subway rider who attempted to defend the victims from their attackers. It is heartening that there are good people who are willing to stand up when they witness racism, prejudice or bigotry," ADL concluded.
Ynetnews contributed to the report