French authorities honoured the Mali-born employee who saved lives at the kosher supermarket attacked by terrorists as a hero and granted him French citizenship.
Bernard Cazeneuve, the Interior Minister, praised Muslim Lassana Bathily (pictured), 24, for his "courage" and "heroism" during a ceremony in the presence of Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
Cazeneuve said Bathily's "act of humanity has become a symbol of an Islam of peace and tolerance".
"Tonight I'm very proud and deeply touched," Bathily said, tears in his eyes, humbly stressing he doesn't consider himself a hero. "I am Lassana. I'll stay true to myself.
"People are all equal to me and skin colour isn't a matter. France is the country of human rights."
Bathily was in the store's stock room underground when gunman Amedy Coulibaly burst in upstairs on January 10 and killed four people. Bathily turned off the freezer and hid a group of shoppers inside before sneaking out through a fire escape to help police with their operation to free the 15 hostages and kill the attacker.
Bathily has lived in France since 2006. He had applied for French citizenship last year.
Meanwhile, the Mayor of Paris says she plans to sue Fox News for what she says were inaccurate reports about alleged Muslim "no-go areas" in the city.
Anne Hidalgo claimed the people of Paris had been insulted and the city's image had been damaged.
"When we're insulted, and when we've had an image, then I think we'll have to sue, I think we'll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed," Hidalgo said in an interview with CNN. "The honour of Paris has been prejudiced."
When asked to clarify which network she planned to take to court, she replied: "Fox News, that's the name."
- Independent, AP