Attacker Author Rushdie Charged With Attempted Murder

Sunday, August 14, 2022 | Tag Cloud Tags: ,

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

NEW YORK (Worthy News) – U.S. authorities have charged Hadi Matar, the suspect in the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie, with “attempted murder.”

Matar, a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey, was arraigned late on Friday after he attacked Rushdie at an event in New York state, said prosecutors in Chautauqua County.

The young man ran onto the stage and immediately stabbed Rushdie and an interviewer at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York state.

Friday’s attack by the suspected radical Islamist came after Rushdie faced years of death threats for his novel The Satanic Verses, which hardline Muslims view as blasphemous.

Rushdie, 75, was rushed to hospital after receiving initial first aid from a doctor who was in public, footage showed.

He has been put on a ventilator, cannot speak, and may lose one eye, his agent and other sources said.

INTERVIEW PUBLISHED

Ralph Henry Reese, 73, who was onstage with Rushdie to moderate the discussion, suffered an injury to his face during the attack. However, he was released from the hospital on Friday afternoon, police said.

Germany’s Stern magazine had planned to publish its interview with the author next week but brought it forward after the stabbing attack.

The magazine described how Rushdie had arrived for the interview with no security at all. He appeared relaxed as he said, “the Iranian fatwa was decades old.”

Soon after, the situation changed, with Rushdie being stabbed several times.

The motive of the attempted murder by suspect Matar has not been confirmed by police, who said they want to examine a backpack and electronic devices found at the center.

But a review of Matar’s social media accounts already suggested he is sympathetic to the causes of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Worthy News learned.

The IRGC is a significant military and political force in Iran.

IRAN TENSIONS

If a link is proven, it was due to adding to tensions with Iran, which already faces Western and Israeli pressure over its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Matar was reportedly born in the U.S. to parents who had emigrated from Lebanon.

Like other people planning to attend the author’s lecture, Matar had obtained a pass to enter the Chautauqua Institution grounds, the group’s president said.

The attack stunned onlookers, who had gathered in the 4,000-seat amphitheater, a summertime destination for literary and arts programming.

“It took like five men to pull him away, and he was still stabbing,” said Linda Abrams, who attended the lecture in the front row. “He was just furious, furious. Like intensely strong and just fast.”

Others described blood running down Mr. Rushdie’s cheek and pooling on the floor.

DOCTOR CONCERNED

A physician in attendance, Rita Landman, said that Rushdie had multiple stab wounds, including one on the right side of his neck.

However, people surrounding him were saying, “he has a pulse, he has a pulse,” Landman added.

Visitors wondered why security was not tighter for a man with a bounty of more than $3 million on his head.

Indian-born novelist Rushdie shot to fame with Midnight’s Children in 1981, selling over one million copies in Britain alone.

But his fourth book, published in 1988 – The Satanic Verses – forced him into hiding for nearly 10 years. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, issued a religious edict known as a fatwa on February 14, 1989. He ordered Muslims to kill Rushdie.

Yet Rushdie made clear he wanted to continue writing, but he always was forced to look over his shoulder. On Friday, that wasn’t enough.

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