Salman Rushdie stabbed: Suspect Hadi Matar has been charged, defense and state attorneys say


The attorney for suspect Hadi Matar, 24, of New Jersey, did not specify the charges because he had not yet seen the document. The prosecutor’s office also declined to comment further on the charges. An arraignment in county court is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, defense attorney Nathaniel Barone said.

“We had anticipated that the prosecutor would definitely present this case for arraignment before any preliminary hearings” and so we are ready for Thursday’s arraignment, Barone said.

matar pleaded not guilty on Saturday to charges of attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault with intent to cause bodily harm with a deadly weapon, and a preliminary hearing in the case had been set for Friday, Barone said.
Rushdie – who received death threats for his 1988 satirical novel “satanic verses“, which some Muslims considered sacrilege – was about to give a lecture on Friday at the Chautauqua Institution when an assailant jumped onto the stage and stabbed him repeatedly.

The 75-year-old author suffered three stab wounds to the neck, four stab wounds to the stomach, punctures to his right eye and chest and a laceration to his right thigh, the county prosecutor said. Chautauqua, Jason Schmidt, last weekend.

Rushdie could lose sight in his right eye, the district attorney added.

Padma Lakshmi
On Monday, Rushdie was hospitalized but awake and “articulate” in his conversations with investigatorsa law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

Authorities have not disclosed the motive for the attack.

Matar’s mother told the Daily mail for an article published this week that her son was outgoing and raised in the United States. But after taking a month-long trip to the Middle East in 2018, Matar returned as a “moody introvert”, said his mother, Silvana Fardos.

Fardos did not hear about the knife attack until the FBI raided her home in Fairview, New Jersey, she told the Daily Mail.

A religious decree for Rushdie’s death

Rushdie had lived in hiding after “The Satanic Verses” has been published. Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini described the book as an insult to Islam and the faith’s prophet Muhammad. He issued a religious decree, or fatwa, calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989.
How Iran Exploited Rushdie's Satanic Verses

In 1998, the Iranian government attempted to distance itself from the fatwa by pledging not to seek to enforce it. Despite this, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reaffirmed the religious edict.

In February 2017, on Khamenei’s official website, the supreme leader was asked if the “fatwa against Rushdie was still in effect”. Khamenei confirmed that was the case, saying, “The decree is as Imam Khomeini issued it.”

Iran accuses Salman Rushdie and his supporters of stabbing him
Monday, the Iranian government denied links to the stabbing.

“We categorically and seriously deny any connection of the aggressor with Iran,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said.

“We do not consider anyone other than (Rushdie) and his supporters worthy of blame and even condemnation.”

United States condemns statement by Iranian government

The US State Department denounced Iran’s position, calling the comments “despicable” and “disgusting”.

“It’s no secret that the Iranian regime has played a pivotal role in threats to his life for years now,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

'Buy a book:' Salman Rushdie interviewer suggests way to support gravely injured author

He called Iran’s “jubilation” over the attack “absolutely outrageous”.

“We want to make it very clear that this is not something we can tolerate,” Price said.

Rushdie began living under British protection after Iran issued the fatwa calling for his death.

On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was shocked by the attack on Rushdie, who is also a British citizen.

“Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie was stabbed while exercising a right we should never stop defending,” Johnson tweeted. “At this time, my thoughts are with his loved ones.”

CNN’s Mark Morales and Alex Stambaugh contributed to this report.

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