Iran says Rushdie and supporters to blame for attack


  • Do not blame Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman says
  • Says novelist ‘crossing red lines’ for Muslims
  • Rushdie stabbed multiple times on Friday
  • Attack condemned by writers, politicians around the world

DUBAI, Aug. 15 (Reuters) – Iran’s foreign ministry said on Monday that no one had the right to make accusations against Tehran over Friday’s attack on Salman Rushdie, and only he and his supporters deserved reproach and conviction for denigrating of Muslims in the world.

The novelist, who has faced death threats for decades since enraging Iran’s spiritual authorities with his writing, is recovering after being stabbed repeatedly during a public appearance in upstate New York. read more

In Iran’s first official response to Friday’s attack, ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said freedom of expression did not justify Rushdie’s insults to religion. His 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” is viewed by some Muslims as blasphemous passages.

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“(As for) the attack on Salman Rushdie, we don’t think anyone but himself and his supporters is worthy of … reproach and condemnation,” Kanaani told a news conference. “No one has the right to accuse Iran in this regard.”

Writers and politicians around the world have condemned the attack. His agent told Reuters that Rushdie had suffered serious injuries, including nerve damage in his arm and wounds to his liver, and was likely to lose an eye. read more

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “ridiculous” to suggest that Rushdie was responsible for the attack.

“This was not just an attack on him, it was an attack on the right to free speech and expression,” the spokesperson told reporters.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Iranian state institutions had incited generations of violence against Rushdie and that state-affiliated media had welcomed the attempt on his life.

The Indian-born writer has had a bounty on his head since “The Satanic Verses” was published in 1988. The following year, Iran’s then Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or edict, calling on Muslims to kill the novelist and everyone else. involved in the publication of the book.

In 1991, the Japanese translator of the novel, Hitoshi Igarashi, was stabbed to death. A former student of Igarashi called again on Monday for his murder to be solved, Ibaraki Shimbun newspaper reported.

A police spokesman told Reuters that an investigation is still ongoing and that the statute of limitations for the crime, which expired in 2006, could be lifted.

The Italian translator of the novel was injured in 1991 and two years later the Norwegian publisher was shot and seriously injured.

In 1998, the reformist Iranian government of President Mohammad Khatami distanced itself from the fatwa and said the threat against Rushdie, who had been in hiding for nine years, was over.

But in 2019, Twitter suspended the account of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, over a tweet saying the fatwa against it was “irrevocable.”


Rushdie, 75, has lived relatively openly in recent years.

He was about to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York on the importance of the United States as a haven for targeted artists, when police said a 24-year-old man stormed onto the stage and stabbed him.

Ministry spokesman Kanaani said Rushdie “has exposed herself to popular outcry by insulting Muslim saints and crossing the 1.5 billion Muslim red line”.

Kanaani said Iran had no other information about the novelist’s suspected attacker other than what had appeared in the media.

The defendant, Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault on Saturday in court, his court-appointed attorney Nathaniel Barone told Reuters.

An initial police check of Matar’s social media accounts showed that he was sympathetic to Shia extremism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to NBC New York. Washington accuses the IRGC of conducting a global extremist campaign.

IRGC-affiliated Jam-e Jam and other hardline Iranian state media celebrated the attack.

Matar is the son of a man from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, according to Ali Tehfe, the city’s mayor. Matar’s parents immigrated to the United States, where he was born and raised, the mayor said, adding that he had no information about their political views.

The Iranian-backed armed group Hezbollah has a major scepter in Yaroun, where over the weekend posters of Khomeini and IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, killed by a US drone strike in 2020, adorned walls.

A Hezbollah official told Reuters on Saturday that the group had no additional information about Friday’s attack.

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Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Additional coverage by Maya Gebeily in Beirut and Elizabeth Piper in London; Written by Michael Georgy; Editing by John Stonestreet

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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