It also turns out that a Muslim man came to the defense of the Jews who were being attacked by the thugs.
Walter Adler was touched that Hassan Askari jumped to his aid while a group of thugs allegedly pummeled and taunted him and his three friends. So Adler has invited his new friend over to celebrate the Festival of Lights.Joseph Jirovec, 19, one of those arrested for assault, claims that he wasnt' racist and that the hate crime angle is nuts. He offers up as a defense that some of his friends are Jewish and that his mother is Jewish. It should also be noted that he's the son of a city firefighter who is currently serving in Iraq and pleaded guilty to a 2005 bias crime against blacks.
The two new pals - Adler, 23, with a broken nose and a fat lip, and Askari, 20, with two black eyes - broke bread together and laughed off the bruises the night after the fisticuffs.
"A random Muslim guy jumped in and helped a Jewish guy on Hanukkah - that's a miracle," said Adler, an honors student at Hunter College.
"He's basically a hero. Hassan jumped in to help us."
But Askari, who is studying to be an accountant, shrugged off the praise.
"I just did what I had to do," he recalled. "My parents raised me that way."
Ten people were arrested in the underground attack on Friday night - including two men who have been arrested for race crimes before.
None of the suspects had been charged with a hate crime in the Q train attack as of last night, but the Brooklyn DA's Civil Rights Bureau is handling the case.
It all began when Adler, his girlfriend, Maria Parsheva, and two other pals boarded the subway at Canal Street bound for Brooklyn and someone in another group wished them "Merry Christmas."
Adler and his pal Angelica Krischanovich responded: "Happy Hanukkah."
Apparently, those were fighting words.
"They just came at us so fast. The first thing that came into my mind was, 'Yeah, this is going to be violent,' " said Parsheva, 20.
One of the group immediately hiked up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo of Christ.
"He said, 'Happy Hanukkah, that's when the Jews killed Jesus,' " said Adler.
The group of about 14 men and women then allegedly began taunting Adler and his pals as "dirty Jews" and "Jew bitches."
Jammie also covers the story.