Iran blames Salman Rushdie, his supporters for attack as author recovers
The Iranian foreign ministry said on Monday that nobody has the right to accuse Iran of being responsible for Friday's assault on Salman Rushdie, for which he and his followers are solely responsible. The novelist, who has faced threats for decades after enraging Iranian clerics with his writing, is recovering after being stabbed multiple times during a public appearance in New York state.
Why does this story matter?
To recall, Rushdie sparked a major controversy with his fourth book, The Satanic Verses, released in 1988. The Indian-born author has also faced death threats, which forced him to go into hiding. Some Muslims were outraged by his novel's theme. They regarded it as blasphemous, which led to its ban in some countries. Anti-Rushdie riots in India and Iran also claimed several lives.
Official statement over the development
In Iran's first official response to Friday's attack, ministerial spokesperson Nasser Kanaani stated that freedom of speech did not justify Rushdie's insults to religion. "During the attack on Salman Rushdie, we do not consider anyone other than himself and his supporters worthy of reproach, reproach, and condemnation," Kanaan reportedly stated. "No one has the right to accuse Iran in this regard," he added.
Exposed himself by crossing 1.5 billion Muslims' red lines: Kanaani
According to Kanaani, a spokeswoman for the ministry, Rushdie "exposed himself to popular outrage by insulting Islamic sanctities and crossing the red lines of 1.5 billion Muslims." He stated that Iran had no information about the suspect other than what had been reported in the media. Hardline Iranian state media praised the attack, stating "Satan has been blinded," and some Iranians supported it online.
Salman Rushdie's family 'relieved'; he's off ventilator, recovering: Son
Meanwhile, Salman Rushdie's family is "extremely relieved" that he has been removed from the ventilator following his stabbing, and his son stated on Sunday that the British writer has maintained his "defiant sense of humor." "We are extremely relieved that yesterday he was taken off the ventilator and additional oxygen and was able to say a few words," Zafar, his son, reportedly tweeted.
Rushdie was stabbed 10-15 times in neck and abdomen
Rushdie was about to speak at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York about the significance of the United States (US) as a safe haven for persecuted artists when a 24-year-old man allegedly rushed the stage and stabbed him, according to police. Rushdie was reportedly stabbed in the neck and abdomen 10-15 times and was flown to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, via helicopter.
Accused Haidi Matar pleaded not guilty in court
Hadi Matar, 24, the accused, is reportedly a resident of Fairview in New Jersey. Earlier on Saturday, he didn't plead guilty to attempted murder and assault charges, despite a prosecutor calling it a "preplanned" crime. During the western New York arraignment, Hadi Matar's attorney entered the petition on his behalf. In this case, the court reportedly ordered Matar's arrest without bail.
Matar showed support to Iran's extremist group: Police
Some reports said Matar sympathized with the Iranian regime, which had advocated for Rushdie's execution. His Facebook page allegedly featured a photograph of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian leader who issued a fatwa against Rushdie in 1989 following the publication of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Matar had also posted on social media in support of Iran's extremist group Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
People worldwide condemned Rushdie's attack as violation of free speech
In a statement issued on Saturday, US President Joe Biden expressed his and first lady Jill Biden's "shock and sadness" over the attack. While United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, "Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend." French President Emmanuel Macron wrote that Rushdie "embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism."Share this timeline