Muslim college student Askari came to Jewish rider Adler’s aid, as Adler and his 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.
Askari said he tried to fight off the 10 attackers, giving Adler a chance to summon police by pulling an emergency brake. Askari was punched and beaten in this bias attack, while Adler suffered a broken nose and lip wound. Prosecutors have charged eight men and two women with menacing and assault in this case, and said that these charges could be upgraded to hate crimes.
Russell Simmons, Hassan Askari, Walter Adler & Rabbi Marc Schneier
Adler and Askari, who have become fast friends following this incident, were honored Wednesday as part of the foundation’s annual benefit, celebrating its landmark work in Muslim-Jewish relations on the heels of its National Summit of Imams and Rabbis.
“We salute these young men for their courage in not allowing their faith come between them in a time of need. They are leading by example,” said Foundation President Rabbi Marc Schneier.
The ADL also applauded Askari’s actions, noting that “It is heartening that there are good people who are willing to stand up when they witness racism, prejudice or bigotry."
Burke would undoubtedly agree.