A petition to honour Lassana Bathily, the Muslim shop worker who saved 15 hostages during last Friday's terror attack on a kosher supermarket in France, has gained more than 140,000 signatures in one day.
It was started on Change.org by Paris based Thiaba Bruni, a spokesperson for the Conseil représentatif des associations noires de France, an Afro-Caribbean association on Monday. It calls on Francois Hollande to give Bathily French citizenship and the Légion d'honneur, the country's highest civilian honour.
Bathily, 24, is originally from Mali in West Africa and according to France 24 does not hold French citizenship. He is a practicing Muslim who arrived in France in 2006 and works in the kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, Paris, that was attacked by jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly last Friday.
In an interview about his actions on that day the 24-year-old told French TV Channel BFMTV he hide customers in the cold store at the supermarket. "When they ran down, I opened the door (from the freezer)," he said.
"When they came out they congratulated me. They told me 'thank you, really'. I said 'it's nothing, that's life'."
A spokesperson for Change.org in France, which launched in 2012, said around 75 per cent of those signing the petition were French, and it was among the fastest-growing petitions ever published on the site.