'You are now a Muslim and your name is Nawaz Sharif Zardari'By Masood Haider
Thursday, 04 Jun, 2009 | 02:23 AM PST |A typical New York City convenience store. — File
NEW YORK: A compassionate Pakistani shopkeeper who helped a would-be robber with money and bread has become a minor celebrity of sorts in New York after his story was aired on New York's TV stations on Tuesday night.
As a matter of fact, the shopkeeper, Mohammad Sohail, claimed that the man promised to change his religion before he fled.
According to Sohail's story part of which was captured on his shop's closed circuit TV, he was closing the store just after midnight on May 21 when — as shown on the store's surveillance video — a man came in wielding a baseball bat and demanding money.
'He said, 'Hurry up and give me the money, give me the money!' and I said, 'Hold on,'' Sohail recalled in a phone interview with CNN.
Sohail said he reached under the counter, grabbed his shotgun and told the robber to drop the bat and get down on his knees.
'He's crying like a baby,' Sohail said. 'He says, 'don't call police, don't shoot me, I have no money, I have no food in my house.''
Amidst the man's apologies and pleas, Sohail said he felt a surge of compassion.
He made the man promise never to rob anyone again and when he agreed, Sohail gave him $40 and a loaf of bread.
'When he got $40, he's very impressed, he says, 'I want to be a Muslim just like you,'' Sohail said, adding he had the would-be criminal recite an Islamic oath.
'I said 'Congratulations. You are now a Muslim and your name is Nawaz Sharif Zardari.''
When asked why he chose the two Pakistani politicians' names, the Pakistani immigrant laughed and said he had been watching a South Asian news channel moments before the confrontation.
Sohail said the man fled the store when he turned away to get the man some free milk.He said police might still be looking for the suspect but he didn't intend to press charges.
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