By Nehru Odeh
Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old man who attacked famous novelist Salman Rushdie, has said the biggest reason for attacking him is to respect the late Shah of Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini, and that he doesn’t like the accomplished writer.
Matar told the New York post during an interview that he had great respect for the late Iranian spiritual leader but would not say if he was inspired by the fatwa he had issued few months before he died, adding that he had read few pages of Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses.
However, Matar said he planned the attack when he saw Rushdie’s tweet in the winter announcing he would give a lecture at an institution in Chautauqua and he decided to take a bus there to carry out his nefarious act.
He took a bus to Bufallo, bought a pass to the Chautauqua Institution grounds about 40 miles (64 kilometres) away and then slept in the grass the night before Rushdie’s planned talk.
In response to the question about Rushdie, Matar clarified that he does not like Rushdie. He said he also used to watch Rushdie’s YouTube videos, adding that ‘he is someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems.’
“I don’t like the person. I don’t think he’s a very good person,” Matar told the newspaper. “He’s someone who attacked Islam. He attacked their beliefs, the belief systems.”
Matar also told the New York Post that he was surprised to learn that the Indian-born British author had survived the attack. In a video interview for the publication, the jailed suspect, who has pleaded not guilty for the attempted murder and assault charges in the case, said, “When I heard he survived, I was surprised, I guess.”
Iran has denied involvement in the attack. Matar, who lives in Fairview, New Jersey, said he hadn’t had any contact with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.