Salman Rushdie is awake and ‘articulate’ after stabbing attack in New York, official says

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The writer — whose books have won him awards — was conscious Monday and able to respond to questions from investigators, the law enforcement official said.

It’s unclear what Rushdie told investigators after the attack that shocked the literary world and sparked immediate condemnation from around the world.

The suspect in the attack, identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, reportedly jumped onto the podium of the Chautauqua Institute, about 70 miles southwest of Buffalo, New York, and jumped toward Rushdie, repeatedly hitting him. stabbed, according to New York State Police. The suspect was held by onlookers and staff who forced him to the ground until he was arrested by a state agent.

The author suffered three stab wounds to his neck, four stab wounds to his stomach, stab wounds to his right eye and chest, and a laceration to his right thigh, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said during Matar’s arraignment over the weekend. Rushdie may lose sight in his right eye, he noted, adding that the attack was targeted and pre-planned.

Officials believe Matar, who lived in Fairview, New Jersey, traveled by bus to Buffalo and used a ride-sharing app to reach Chautauqua the day before the attack, according to the law enforcement official who spoke to CNN.

Investigators do not know where Matar spent the night and are working with the institution to search surveillance footage to determine if he was near the area at night, the official added.

At his arrest, Matar had a fake driver’s license, some cash, two Visa prepaid gift cards and no wallet, the official told CNN. Matar refused to answer questions from authorities when he was taken into custody and asked for a lawyer, the law enforcement official said.

Public defender Nathaniel Barone, who represents Matar, told CNN that his client has been “very cooperative” and communicated openly.

Matar pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault with intent to cause bodily harm with a deadly weapon, Barone said.

Rushdie lived in hiding after his novel “The Satanic Verses” was published in 1988, and was criticized by some Muslims who considered it sacrilegious. The late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who described the book as an affront to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad of faith, issued a religious decree or fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989.
Salman Rushdie, seen here at the 2019 Cheltenham Literature Festival in Cheltenham, England.

What do we know about the suspect?

A motive for the attack remains unclear and authorities, according to the law enforcement source, are searching items they took from Matar’s home in New Jersey.

Matar, who has no documented criminal history, is charged with using a knife in the stabbing, according to a felony charge.

It remains unclear how he may have entered the event armed with a knife. There were no security screenings or metal detectors during the event, said a witness who did not identify CNN as she expressed concerns for their personal safety.

Iran blames Salman Rushdie and supporters for his stabbing

Matar was described as someone who is quiet and mostly kept to himself, according to people who interacted with him at a boxing gym in North Bergen, New Jersey.

Desmond Boyle, the owner of State of Fitness Boxing Club, told CNN Matar who signed up there in April.

“You know that look, that look of ‘it’s the worst day of your life’? He came in like this every day,” Boyle told CNN.

Roberto Irizarry, a member of the gym, told CNN that Matar went to the gym about three or four times a week and was “a very quiet kid.”

“It’s a brotherly environment, a family environment — we try to get everyone involved. He was basically for himself,” Irizarry said.

Matar faces up to 32 years if convicted, the prosecutor said.

US condemns Iranian government statement

The attack on the famous author gained support from writers and officials around the world.

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

“I am shocked that Sir Salman Rushdie was stabbed while exercising a right that we should never cease to defend. Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones.”

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

On Monday, the Iranian government denied any links to the attack in its first official response.
How Iran Exploited Rushdie's Satanic Verses

“We consider none other than (Rushdie) and his supporters worthy of blame and even condemnation,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said at a televised news conference.

Iranian officials have heard nothing about the suspect other than what the US news media has reported, Kanaani said, according to Iranian state media. “We categorically and seriously deny any connection of the attacker to Iran,” Kanaani added.

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

“It’s no secret that the Iranian regime has been central to threats against his life for years,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price, who called Iran’s “delight” at the attack “absolutely outrageous”.

“We want it to be very clear that it’s not something we can tolerate,” Price said.

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

In February 2017, the Supreme Leader was asked on Khamenei’s official website whether the “fatwa against Rushdie was still in effect”, to which Khamenei confirmed: “The decree is as issued by Imam Khomeini.”

Nicki Brown, Liam Reilly, Artemis Moshtaghian, Kristina Sgueglia, Samantha Beech, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, David Romain, Nouran Salahieh, Adam Pourahmadi, Alex Stambaugh, Michael Conte and Christian Sierra of CNN contributed to this report.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
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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