Steph Deschamps / August 13, 2022
British author Salman Rushdie was stabbed in the neck on Friday by a man at a conference in Western New York. At this point, the author is on a ventilator, and may lose an eye. The news is not good, the 75-year-old British writer’s agent, Andrew Wylie, told The New York Times on Friday night. Salman will probably lose an eye; the nerves in his arm were severed and he was stabbed in the liver.
Meanwhile, Iran’s conservative press is congratulating the alleged perpetrator of the knife attack. Kudos to the brave and duty-conscious man who attacked the apostate and vicious Salman Rushdie, writes Iran’s ultraconservative newspaper Kayhan, whose boss is appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Let us kiss the hand of the one who tore the neck of the enemy of God with a knife, the text continues.
Who is the alleged assailant?
His name is Hadi Matar, he is 24 years old, and he is from California, USA. He is a Lebanese Shiite (religious sect) who currently lives in New Jersey. At the time of the incident, he was in possession of a fake driver’s license and a knife. Matar was quickly subdued by the police. The circumstances surrounding the assault are still unclear. It’s way too early, says Major Eugene Staniszewski of the New York State Police. We don’t have any indication of his intentions at this point. But we’re going to work with the FBI to understand the motive behind this attack.
On his social networks, the assailant claims to be in favor of Shiite extremism. He highlights the figures of the Iranian regime, as well as its founder, Ayatollah Khomeynil, author of the fatwa (in Islamic religion: legal advice given by a religious authority) against Salman Rushdie since 1989.
Hadi Matar was captured alive, which should allow investigators to clarify his links with Hezbollah and the motives behind his act.
Salman Rushdie, born in 1947 in Bombay, two months before India’s independence, is trying not to be reduced to the scandal caused by the publication of The Satanic Verses, which set the Muslim world ablaze and led to a fatwa in 1989 calling for his assassination. But current events (the rise of radical Islam) have not stopped bringing him back to what he has always been in the eyes of the West: the symbol of the fight against religious obscurantism and for freedom of expression.
Already in 2005, he considered that this fatwa had been a prelude to the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States. Forced to live in hiding and under police protection, going from cache to cache, he called himself Joseph Anton, in homage to his favorite authors, Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov.
Settled in New York for a few years, Salman Rushdie had resumed a more or less normal life while continuing to defend, in his books, satire and irreverence.