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Pakistani immigrant saves synagogue
January 11, 2003 09:37 IST
On Thursday at 0400 (local time), Syed Ali, a Pakistani immigrant, stopped a man from burning the Young Israel of Kings Bay synagogue in Brooklyn, New York, by alerting the police.
Ali was doing his night shift as a gas attendant when a person named Sead Jakub asked him to pump gas into a plastic bucket.
According to the New York Daily News, when Ali saw Jakub head straight for the synagogue and douse it with the gas, he immediately dialed 911.
While Ali waited for the police to arrive, Jakub returned, demanding a refill.
When the gas attendant refused, the latter allegedly kicked the cashier's booth and tried to smash the booth's glass door with a trash can.
The police arrived at 0430 am and arrested Jakub.
"[Ali] did a very brave and valiant thing," Steve Scarriano, the manager of Amoco gas station, told rediff.com. "It is important for the whole community -- a Muslim saving a Jewish place of worship."
Scarriano said he had suffered the brunt of being a white manager who hired Muslim workers in the aftermath of 9/11.
"I am very glad this happened. As my twenty years as a station manager, I have worked with Muslims all my life. I am sympathetic towards them."
"For what he has done, Ali undoubtedly is a hero," he said.
According to NYPD spokesperson Detective Kevin Czartoryski, Jakub is a 22-year-old Bosnian Muslim, who was fired on January 7 by the city's Department of Environmental Protection.
He worked as an apprentice labourer.
Jakub is under arrested for third-degree arson, criminal mischief and aggravated harassment.
The police is investigating whether the Jakub's act may be classified as a hate crime since the target was a religious building, the detective said.
Ali was unavailable for comment.