Thursday, Oct 06, 2022
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Salman Rushdie's Attacker Faces Attempted Murder, Assault Charges

Salman Rushdie's attacker's social media show he is sympathetic to Shia extremism and Iran. In 1989, Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued an edict calling for Rushdie's death.

Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old man who stabbed Salman Rushdie.
Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old man who stabbed Salman Rushdie. AP

The attacker of writer Salman Rushdie is facing attempted murder and assault charges. 

The attacker, identified as 24-year-old Hati Matar, was restrained at the time of the attack by people present there. He was taken into custody by the New York State Police.

The police said, that on Friday, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrested Matar for "attempted murder 2nd degree and assault 2nd degree".

Matar was processed at SP Jamestown and transported to Chautauqua County Jail and will be arraigned in centralised arraignment on Saturday.

Rushdie was stabbed on the stage on Friday in New York at an event where he was about to give a lecture. An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man storm the stage and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie. Rushdie fell through a barrier to the stage and was seen with blood on his hands, according to witnesses quoted by PTI, which added that he was then treated on the stage.

Rushdie was transported from a helicopter to the hospital, where he continues to get treatment. 

The New York Times has reported that Rushdie is on ventilator. 

"Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged," said Rushdie's agent Andrew Wylie on Friday to NYT

NBC News reported, citing US law enforcement sources, that while the motive of the attack is uncertain at the moment, Matar's social media accounts show he is "sympathetic to Shia extremism and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps causes".

"There are no definitive links to the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] but the initial assessment indicates he is sympathetic to the Iranian government group, the official says," reported NBC News.

Notably, Iran's former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued an edict calling for Rushdie's death. A bounty of over $3 million has also been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie. 

The IRGC is a Iranian armed force that functions parallelly to the regular military. However, it's not answerable to the country's government as it's answers to Iran's Supreme Leader. This way, IRGC is the personal swordarm of Iran's Supreme Leader.

The edict was issued after the publication of Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses, which a section of Muslims consider blasphemous. Rushdie has faced death threats over the book through his life. He spent nine years of his life in hiding. 

The police has reached out to US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for help in the probe, according to NYT.  

"Local police have reached out to the FBI for help in identifying the suspect’s motives and background, according to a federal law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation," reported NYT.

(With PTI, AP inputs)

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