AN Iranian MP has suggested the brutal stabbing of Salman Rushdie was the “direct work” of the country in response to the US killing of a top general.
The author, 75, was knifed up to 15 times yesterday in front of horrified onlookers in New York after suffering years of death threats over his novel The Satanic Verses.
Salman Rushdie was stabbed multiple times in New York on FridayCredit: PA
Iran-sympathizer Hadi Matar, 24, was arrested and has been charged with attempted murderCredit: AP
An Iranian MP has hinted the attack was ‘direct work’ of IranCredit: EPA
Iranian lawmaker Malek Shariati Niasar has chillingly hinted the attack could have been the “direct work” of Iran as he branded Rushdie – who is at risk of losing an eye – an “apostate”.
He said: “Attacking the renegade Salman Rushdie in America, if: 1. It should be Iran’s work directly: proving the power of Islamic Iran.
“2. The work of a Muslim “Khomeini did not see” and be independent from Iran: exporting the revolution to the heart of the enemy
“3. Let America and England do their own work (!): a lesson in trusting the West.
“But in all three cases it is a warning to the killers of Martyr Soleimani.”
Iranian military officer Qasem Soleimani was assassinated in 2020 in a targeted US drone strike in Baghdad – prompting Iran to launch missiles at America’s base in Iraq.
It comes as Iran-sympathizer Hadi Matar, 24, has been charged with attempted murder in the second degree after being tackled to the ground by brave audience members at Chautauqua Institution.
Indian-born writer Rushdie remains on a ventilator and is suffering from severed nerves and a damaged liver after he was stabbed multiple times on Friday.
Rushdie was being introduced to give a talk to an audience of hundreds on artistic freedom when a man rushed to the stage and lunged at the novelist, who has lived with a bounty on his head since the late 1980s.
Horrified attendees rushed to his aid with pictures from the scene showing Rushdie lying on the stage as a crowd surrounded him.
Blood could be seen splattered across a screen in the lecture theatre and a chair Rushdie was sitting on.
He was airlifted to hospital, where he remains and is unable to speak.
Iran’s dictatorship has celebrated the horror attack – branding Rushdie an “apostate” and “heretic” as they praised his attacker for “tearing neck of the enemy of God with a knife”.
More than 30 years ago, the regime called for Rushdie to be murdered – forcing him into hiding.
Ultra-conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan commended the stabbing in today’s issue as its chief Hossein Shariatmadari described Rushdie as “depraved”.
He said: “Bravo to this courageous and duty-conscious man who attacked the apostate and depraved Salman Rushdie in New York.
“Let us kiss the hands of the one who tore the neck of the enemy of God with a knife.”
FARS News, another regime-owned outlet, accused Rushdie of having “insulted the Prophet of Islam (PBUH)” with the book’s “anti-religious content”.
Rushdie, who was born into a Muslim Kashmiri family in Bombay, now Mumbai, before moving to the UK, has long faced death threats for his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses.
It was banned in many countries with large Muslim populations upon its 1988 publication.
A few months later, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Iran’s supreme leader, pronounced a fatwa, or religious edict, calling upon Muslims to kill the novelist and anyone involved in the book’s publication for blasphemy.
Rushdie, who called his novel “pretty mild,” went into hiding for nearly a decade.
Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of the novel, was murdered in 1991.
The Iranian government said in 1998 it would no longer back the fatwa, and Rushdie has lived relatively openly in recent years.
Iranian organisations, some affiliated with the government, have raised a bounty worth millions of dollars for Rushdie’s murder.
And Khomeini’s successor as supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said as recently as 2019 that the fatwa was “irrevocable.”
Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency and other news outlets donated money in 2016 to increase the bounty by $600,000 (£500,000).
Matar, from New Jersey, had a pass to access the event and was arrested after the attack.
He has now been charged with attempted murder after cops last night raided his home in Fairview.
The 24-year-old allegedly stormed the stage and began attacking Rushdie – who was scheduled to speak alongside author Henry Reese.
Witnesses told AP News that Rushdie fell through a barrier to the floor and was seen with blood on his hands.
Rushdie remains in hospital and it’s feared he could lose an eye.
Andrew Wylie, his book agent, said: “The news is not good.
“Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.”
Rabbi Charles Savenor told The Sun Online he was in the crowd when the violent scene erupted.
Savenor, 53, said the horror attack went on for “20 to 40 seconds” before Rushdie’s alleged attacker was stopped.
He said: “At first no one knew how to respond. We didn’t know what we were witnessing, what we were looking at.
“We were about 75 feet away and we saw the assailant attack Mr. Rushdie.
“His arm was going up and down, I didn’t know if he was punching him or if he had a knife,” Savenor recalled.
“The crowd was just shocked but within a few seconds, there was a sense that we were witnessing an assault in real-time.”
An AP reporter said he witnessed the man punch or stab the author “10 to 15 times”.
Suspect Matar was arrested after being tackled to the ground at the eventCredit: Twitter
Stains of what is believed to be blood are marked behind a screen where Rushdie was seatedCredit: AP
Cops, including plain clothed officers, at Matar’s home in Fairview last nightCredit: Reuters
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