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Salman Rushdie stabbing row: Attacker ‘surprised’ the author survived

Days after stabbing Salman Rushdie on a lecture stage in western New York, his alleged attacker Hadi Matar said in an interview that he was surprised to learn the accomplished author had survived the attack.

Matar said that he had decided to see Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution following his tweet last winter about the writer’s planned appearance.

“I don’t like the person. I don’t think he’s a very good person. He’s someone who attacked Islam. He attacked their beliefs, the belief systems,” the New York Post quoted Matar as saying.

ALSO READ: British author Salman Rushdie stabbed: A look at ‘fatwas’, attacks and controversies

Though the 24-year-old alleged attacker considered late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini “a great person”, but he wouldn’t say whether he was following a fatwa, or edict, issued by Khomeini in Iran in 1989. The Iranian leader called for Rushdie’s death after the author published ‘The Satanic Verses’.

Matar, lives in New Jersey’s Fairview, revealed that he hadn’t had any contact with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and had only read “a couple pages” of ‘The Satanic Verses’.

Meanwhile, Iran denied involvement in the attack of British Author Salman Rushdie.

After the attack on 12 August, Rushdie suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye. His agent Andrew Wylie said Rushdie’s condition has improved.

ALSO READ: Salman Rushdie attacker’s mother hints at radicalisation, blames it on son’s Middle East trip

Elaborating about the attack, Matar said that he he took a bus to Buffalo the day before the attack and then took a Lyft to Chautauqua, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) away.

He bought a pass to the Chautauqua Institution grounds and then slept in the grass the night before Rushdie’s planned talk.

Matar — born in the US — holds dual citizenship in Lebanon, where his parents were born. His mother confirmed that Matar changed after Lebanon visit in 2018, when he went to see his father. From then onwards, he withdrew from his family.

With PTI inputs. 

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