“Everything happened in a matter of seconds,” said a witness. Salman Rushdie was about to be introduced to the public yesterday before his speech at a conference in New York, but he didn’t have time to speak. Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from New Jersey, stood up from the audience wearing a black mask and hit the writer with a stabbing weapon in front of an upset world. Rushdie is now fighting for his life attached to a fan and “probably will lose an eye,” says his spokesperson, while the young man – accused of attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault – pleaded not guilty before the judges of New York. In fact, Matar’s lawyer presented the statement during the preliminary hearing. The young man, with handcuffs on his wrists, went to court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask. The motive for the attack still remains a mystery.
Salman Rushdie, attack on freedom
Rashdie “will probably lose an eye”
Matar was denied bail, while the 75-year-old essayist, against whom Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 for Satanic verses, the novel considered an insult to the Koran, Muhammad and the Islamic faith, was operated on urgently for several hours in a Pennsylvania hospital and is unable to speak. Fight for life attached to a fan. According to his agent, Andrew Wylie, Rushdie was injured in the abdomen, neck and liver. “The news isn’t good,” Wylie said in an email. ‘Salman will probably lose an eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged. ‘
Who is Hadi Matar
It is known that Matar was born in California, the son of a Lebanese who emigrated from the town of Yaroun, on the Lebanese side of the border with Israel (an area with a Shiite population). The young man had recently moved to Fairview, a district of New Jersey, where FBI agents were seen entering his residence on Friday. Analysts of Islamic radicalism have tracked down his social networks and identified the young man as a sympathizer of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Just before 11am, the attack on the 4,000-seat amphitheater of the Chautauqua institute, a summer destination for literary and artistic programming, where Rushdie was speaking in front of an audience of a hundred people. The attacker pounced on the writer and “it took about five men to get him out while he kept stabbing the man,” said Linda Abrams, who attended the conference from the front row. Some people who witnessed the bombing reported a river of blood dripping from Rushdie’s face and accumulating on the floor.
Salman Rushdie: “After the fatwa I was wrong to escape”
Mystery about the motive
According to Major Eugene J. Staniszewski of the New York State Police, the motivation for this attack is still unclear. Matar is believed to have acted alone. Police are working together with the FBI and the local sheriff’s office, and investigators have obtained search warrants for a backpack and electronic devices that were found at the institute.
Meanwhile, Iran, for the time being, neither the government nor religious leaders have made statements about the attack, although some conservative and minority media have celebrated it. The conservative newspaper Keyhan, close to the Iranian supreme leader, praised the attack and offered “a hundred blessings of God” to the attacker, while the newspaper Khorasan wrote on the front page that “Satan is going to hell”. For his part, Mohamad Marandì, communications adviser in the talks to save the 2015 nuclear agreement, questioned the reasons for the attack and stressed that the attack took place “when a potential agreement approaches”. The official agency Irna limited itself to denouncing the attack but at the same time defined the writer as “apostate” and his novel “blasphemous”. The controversy surrounding the Satanic Verses “is not a question of freedom of expression”, as for those who insult the Prophet of Islam “the sentence is death”, reads an editorial that appeared on the agency’s Persian-language website semi-official Fars press. Iranian leaders are responsible because the Islamic Republic has never denied the fatwa calling for the novelist’s murder, they attacked rights activists and opponents of the Tehran regime forced to live abroad for their positions.