Sir Salman Rushdie’s attacker was ‘surprised’ to learn of the author’s survival

The man alleged to have stabbed Sir Salman Rushdie on stage at an event in New York said he was “surprised” to learn the acclaimed author was alive after the attack.

adi Matar, 24, said Sir Salman, 75, was “someone who attacked Islam” but did not confirm his actions were driven by a fatwa issued by Iran in the 1980s.

Matar has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges through his attorney and is currently being held in the Chautauqua County Jail in upstate New York.

He is scheduled to appear in court again on Friday.

In a video interview from prison, he told the New York Post: “I guess I was surprised when I heard he survived.

Matar said he originally planned to go to the event at the Chautauqua Institution after seeing a tweet announcing Sir Salman’s performance.


Hadi Matar said Sir Salman was “someone who attacked Islam” but did not confirm his actions were fueled by an Iran-issued fatwa (Gene J Puskar/AP).

“I don’t like the person. I don’t think he’s a very good person. I don’t like him very much.

“He’s someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems.”

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Sir Salman published his famous novel The Satanic Verses in 1988, which led to Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issuing a fatwa or edict in 1989 calling for his death.

But Matar told the New York Post he only read “a few pages” of the book and didn’t say if the fatwa inspired him.


Sir Salman’s famous book The Satanic Verses published in 1988 (PA)

“I respect the ayatollah. I think he’s a great person. That’s all I can say about it,” he said.

It comes as the event’s moderator said his concern is for the writer “for himself, but also for what he means in the world”.

Henry Reese told the BBC the attack highlighted the values ​​Sir Salman stands for.

Mr Reese, who suffered severe bruising during the incident, said it was “my ideal” to one day return to the venue and continue the conversation with Sir Salman.


Matar (in black and white prison outfit) is scheduled to appear in court again on Friday (Gene J Puskar/AP)

“That would be my ideal, to do this and see that and not be prevented in any way from doing what we set out to do,” he said.

“To show both of them that these values ​​are and can be defended.”

Despite his “life-changing” injuries, Sir Salman has maintained his “usual lively and defiant sense of humour,” his family said.

The author suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and eye, but was taken off a ventilator on Saturday. Sir Salman Rushdie’s attacker was ‘surprised’ to learn of the author’s survival

Fry Electronics Team

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