The bravery of Malian shopworker Lassana Bathily was one of the few "good news" stories to emerge from the terror rampage in Paris which began with the attack on Charlie Hebdo one year ago today.

Bathily, 25, hid Jewish hostages at a kosher supermarket and then escaped to brief police on how to make their successful assault on the gunman who had captured the store.

He was honoured for his heroic actions with awards from Jewish organisations, praised by US president Barack Obama and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and granted fast-track citizenship of France.

But the young man was omitted from a long list of terror attack "heroes and victims" who were awarded the Legion d'honneur last week.

In a book published yesterday, Je ne suis pa un Heros (I am Not a Hero), Bathily writes:

Of course, there were wonderful moments. But I began to ask myself... do I deserve all this?

And since the initial adulation, there have been several attempts to downplay the role he played in saving innocent lives, Bathily says, which "sadden and anger me".

They amount to "racism, pure and simple".

Too much was made of his story because he was a Muslim who helped save Jews, he said.

Now some people say that I was just an alibi for liberal consciences. France needed a black hero and a Muslim hero. Could I not just be an ordinary person who acted like a human being?

His supermarket chain employer also did not join in with the commendation - it merely offered him his shelf-stacking job back.

For them I was just a little immigrant labourer.

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