As horrific as the attacks in Paris were, everyone agrees on one thing: if the attackers had gotten inside the Stade de France, where thousands were watching France play Germany, things would have been a lot worse. But one of the suicide bombers was prevented from entering the soccer stadium by a security guard, who also happens to be a Muslim.
Following the attacks, a story spread around the internet about a Muslim security guard, known only as “Zouheir,” who supposedly prevented one of the suicide attackers from entering the stadium. But, as the BBC reports, Zouheir was not stationed at a turnstile, and the stories he told to media were things that he had heard from others, and even though his name sounds Middle Eastern, Zouheir was not identified as a Muslim in the stories about him.
But there was another security guard, who IS Muslim, who denied an attacker entry to the stadium. Salim Toorabally is a 42-year-old Mauritian immigrant who was working at one of the entrances when a man tried to sneak in behind another patron. Toorabally would not let the man in, despite the man’s pleas that a friend was waiting for him inside with his ticket. He told NBC News, “He didn’t have a ticket, so I stopped him. I said, ‘If you don’t have a ticket, I’m not letting you in.'”
A short time later, Toorabally saw the man trying to sneak in through another turnstile. He warned the guard to not let the man in. Soon afterward Toorabally heard an explosion. The man he had turned away, French national Bilal Hadfi, detonated a suicide vest outside the stadium.
Toorabally says he is glad he listened to his daughter. There had been a bomb scare earlier that had forced the German soccer team to leave their hotel. Before leaving for his job at the stadium, Toorabally says his daughter told him to “be careful.” By being careful, Toorabally saved the lives of hundreds.
Described as a “devout Muslim,” Toorabally doesn’t consider himself a hero. “I was just doing my job,” he says.
Here is Salim Toorabally’s interview with NBC News:
Featured image via NBC News screen capture