Man who tried to kill Rushdie accuses writer of attacking Islam, denies contact with Iranians

The man accused of trying to assassinate writer Salman Rushdie in New York claimed he felt aversion to him for allegedly “attacking Islam”, but denied contact with Iran or having read his entire book “The Satanic Verses”, according to said in an interview with The New York Post published this Wednesday (17).

The 75-year-old writer , against whom Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for his murder in 1989, was stabbed ten times last Friday during a public literary event by Hadi Matar of 24 ) years old, born in the USA and considered by experts in Islamic radicalism as a sympathizer of Iran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

In the Post’s brief interview with the accused, who is being held in a prison in Chautauqua ( upstate New York), Matar expressed surprise that Rushdie survived the attack and refrained, on the advice of his lawyer, from stating whether he was inspired by the ayatollah’s fatwa, although he must His sympathy for the former Iranian leader was made clear.

“I respect the Ayatollah. I think he’s a great person. That’s all I will say on the matter,” said the defendant, who denied having any contact with Iran or the regime’s hard wing.

On the book that led Khomeini to issue the order to murder more than three decades ago, Matar added: “I read a few pages. I haven’t read everything from cover to cover.”

On the other hand, he stated that he spent some time watching the writer’s YouTube videos: “I saw a lot of conversations. I don’t like people who are fake.”

Matar also said he found out about the event Rushdie was attending when he saw an ad online months ago and expressed his dislike for it with repeated phrases like “no I like him” and “he is someone who attacked Islam, attacked his beliefs, his faith system”.

About the aggressor, son of Lebanese immigrants, more details were known in an article in the newspaper The New York Times which gathers testimonials from his acquaintances describing him as lonely, isolated and quiet, and from his mother, who said that in 2018 he returned from a trip to the Middle East very focused on being faithful to Islam and that he assured that he doesn’t want to “know more about him”.

Rushdie remains in a serious condition in a hospital in Pennsylvania and details about his health are scarce, but his son says the writer doesn’t need to anymore. of assisted breathing and was described as “talky” on Tuesday, when talking to police officers.

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