Resident of New Jersey, sympathetic to Iran: What we know of Salman Rushdie’s attacker Hadi Matar so far

Resident of New Jersey : Since 1989, Salman Rushdie has lived under a fatwa imposed by the former Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, when some of his books, “The Satanic Verses,” were found to contain offensive language.

In the early hours of Friday, August 12 (in the United States), Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man, attacked Salman Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution in New York.

The author was put on a ventilator in the hospital, is unable to talk, and may lose an eye, according to the author’s representative.

Resident of New Jersey

Rushdie has been subject to a fatwa since 1989, when Iran’s former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared several passages of his 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” to be heretical.

The book’s Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarashi, was fatally stabbed in Japan in July 1991, while its Italian translator, Ettore Capriolo, was hurt in a stabbing incident in Milan.

The Satanic Verses publisher from Norway, William Nygaard, was shot and injured in Oslo in October 1993.

Iran’s then-President Mohammad Khatami declared in 1998 that his nation no longer supported the murder of Rushdie.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s current Supreme Leader, was cited as saying a few years ago that the fatwa for Rushdie’s murder was “shot like a bullet that won’t rest until it finds its target.”

However, the fatwa has not been formally revoked.

Who is the attacker of Rushdie, Hadi Matar?

The 24-year-old Matar lives in New Jersey, which is close to New York. According to NBC News, a law enforcement investigation into Matar’s social media accounts revealed that he was sympathetic to Shia extremism and the objectives of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an ideologically motivated branch of the Iranian armed forces tasked with defending the Islamic system of government from adversarial foreign powers and internal dissent.

According to NBC News, Matar’s cell phone messaging app contained images of Qasem Soleimani, the flamboyant former leader of the Quds Force, a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, who was killed in Baghdad by the US in January 2020.

How come Matar attacked Rushdie, though?

The FBI and other US investigation organisations have not yet provided comment regarding Matar’s motivation. Furthermore, it is unclear if Matar is Iranian by nationality or ancestry.

According to Major Eugene Staniszewski of the New York State Police, who was also mentioned by CBS News, the suspect had a pass to the Chautauqua Institution event grounds just like other attendees.

Nearly ten years after Rushdie’s assassination was deemed justified by a fatwa and Ayatollah Khomeini’s own demise, Matar was born.

However, the information found in Matar’s cell phone that connects him to the Revolutionary Guard raises the possibility that the fatwa may have motivated him.

Iran outlawed “The Satanic Verses” in 1988. The problematic portions of the book continue to outrage many Muslims, and occasionally, bounties have been offered for his murder. The author has also received death threats for decades.

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