07/04/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Mohammed Sohail On Robbery Turned Act Of Charity (VIDEO)

Media Monitor Chad Capellman flags the clip, below, of Shepard Smith, conducting a very touching interview with Mohammed Sohail, the Long Island shopkeeper who, locked in confrontation with a bat-wielding robber, steered the situation to a remarkable conclusion:

Sohail, who moved to the United States from Pakistan about 20 years ago, said he was getting ready to close his store shortly after midnight on May 21 when the man in his 40s entered with a bat in his hand. Sohail said he tried to stall for a moment and then grabbed a rifle he keeps behind the counter and ordered the assailant to drop the bat.

The would-be thief dropped to his knees and begged for forgiveness, Sohail said.

"He started crying that he was out of work and was trying to feed his hungry family," he said. "I felt bad for him. I mean, this wasn't some kid."

He said he tossed $40 to the man, who then stood up and told Sohail he was inspired by the act of mercy and wanted to become a fellow Muslim. Sohail said he led the man in a profession of Muslim faith and the two ended up shaking hands.

I have a distinct memory, during inauguration weekend, of hearing President Barack Obama speak of the need for a "new age of responsibility," and thinking to myself how fortunate it was to have on hand a man who had really, truly served as a model for the whole concept of responsibility. And, no disrespect, but I'm not talking about the President. Rather, I am referring to Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the almost improbably ethical pilot who demonstrated not just heroism in the way he landed his malfunctioning plane on the Hudson River, but a soup-to-nuts sense of responsibility that extended all the way to informing his library that a book he had borrowed had been lost. You know...in the plane, on the Hudson River.

And since then, at a time when we needed to be reminded of the value of self-sacrifice, we got Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama. And today, at a time when we are engaged in an attempt to forge a new and hopeful conversation with the Muslim world -- and once again locked in a P.R. war with Osama bin Laden -- we have Sohail, demonstrating that his values are constructive, quintessentially American, and, when lived to the fullest, capable of inspiration.

At times of need, our tendency is always to look to our leaders for guidance. But for my money, I'm more thankful for the examples set by those among us who didn't seek our approval or campaign for election before choosing to act. I think this is probably the way America is supposed to be.


Kamran Pasha: A Muslim Shopkeeper, A Robber, and the Power of Faith

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