Hadi Matar, 24, the man who is accused of attacking Salman Rushdie, is
being held without bail. Author Salman Rushdie was attacked by an assailant during
a lecture in New York. Matar’s social media showed him to be sympathetic to “Shia
extremism” and causes of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC). No direct links
between Matar and IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) have yet been
established, according to investigators.
The 24-year-old assailant reportedly jumped up on stage as Rushdie was
about to give a speech at the Chautauqua Institution near New York city, which
holds arts programmes. Henry Reese, the interviewer, also suffered a head
injury in the attack.
Police say Hadi Matar was “working alone”. Authorities, however, are in
the “process of obtaining search warrants for various items. There was a
backpack located in the scene. There were also electronic devices.”
Hadi Matar is from Fairview, New Jersey. Police are still looking into
details about his nationality and criminal records, if any. The Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI) and other investigative agencies in the US are yet to
make a statement on Matar’s motive.
Hadi Matar was born in United States to Lebanese parents. They migrated
from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, the mayor of Yaroun, told the Associated Press
and Reuters. NBC News reported that an analysis of Matar’s social media
accounts by law enforcement found him sympathetic to the IRGC.
Matar’s support for Ayatollah Khomeini is significant because Rushdie
has been living under a fatwa issued by Iran’s former Supreme leader since
1989. In July 1991, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of The Satanic
Verses, was stabbed to death in Japan. The same novel’s Italian translator was
injured in a knife attack in Milan. In October 1993, the Norwegian publisher of
‘The Satanic Verses,’ William Nygaard, was shot and wounded in Oslo.