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Iran Says Rushdie and Supporters to Blame for Attack

Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed repeatedly at a public appearance in New York state, and his supporters are to blame for the attack, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson has said.

Freedom of speech did not justify Rushdie’s insults upon religion in his writing, Nasser Kanaani said in a press briefing on Monday.

Iran has no other information about Rushdie’s alleged assailant except what has appeared in media, he added.

Vice News reported on Sunday that, before his arrest, the suspect Hadi Matar, allegedly had contact at some point with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, a branch of Iran’s military, citing European and Middle Eastern intelligence sources. The report also said there was no evidence that Iranian officials were involved in organising the attack on Rushdie.

The prize-winning writer spent years under police protection after Iranian leaders called for Rushdie’s killing over his portrayal of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad in his novel The Satanic Verses.

He was about to be interviewed as part of a lecture series on Friday when a man rushed the stage and stabbed him repeatedly.

Rushdie’s “road to recovery has begun” but “will be long”, the novelist’s agent said on Sunday.

“The injuries are severe,” the agent, Andrew Wylie, said in an email to the Guardian, alluding to stab wounds that the author had suffered to his neck, stomach, eye, chest and thigh two days earlier. “But his condition is headed in the right direction.”

The Indian-born British novelist remained in hospital on Sunday in a critical condition, but had been removed from a ventilator, which had allowed him to talk and demonstrate that “his usual feisty and defiant sense of humour remains intact”, his son Zafar Rushdie said in a separate statement.

Nonetheless, Zafar added that his father’s wounds were “life-changing”.

On Saturday, Hadi Matar pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault at a brief court appearance where he was denied bail.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Sunday that Iranian state institutions had incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media had gloated about the attempt on his life.

“This is despicable,” Blinken said in a statement. “The United States and partners will not waver in our determination to stand up to these threats, using every appropriate tool at our disposal.”

The New York governor, Kathy Hochul, spoke at the Chautauqua Institution, where Rushdie was stabbed, condemning the “cowardly attack” and asserting that “a man with a knife cannot silence a man with a pen”.

Rushdie had lived in hiding and under police protection for years after the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini put out a fatwa in 1989 calling for his death in retribution for The Satanic Verses. Many Muslims interpreted the author’s book as blasphemous because it included a character they found insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

from Global – Arise News

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