The man who stabbed Salman Rushdie, a Lebanese-American obsessed with the Iranian revolution

The man who stabbed Salman Rushdie, a Lebanese-American obsessed with the Iranian revolution

Hadi Matar during his appearance in Chautauqua County Court in Mayville, New York on August 13, 2022.

Iranian ultraconservatives see him as a hero. The one who, “conscious of his duty”a “attacked the apostate”. If, at this stage, no direct link has been established between the 24-year-old man who stabbed the author of the satanic versesSalman Rushdie, on August 12, during a conference in upstate New York (United States), and Iran, all eyes are on the Islamic Republic, which seems to fascinate the author of the attempted murder. On Monday, Tehran denied any involvement in the attack, while continuing to rail against the writer. Still hospitalized, the latter is “on the road to recovery (…) despite serious injuriesaccording to his agent.

Originally from New Jersey, Hadi Matar was born on American soil to parents who had emigrated from Lebanon and came from the locality of Yaroun. The village, attached to the Israeli border, is a stronghold of Hezbollah, the Shiite movement armed and financed by Iran. According to his mother, interviewed by the British daily Daily Mailhe had returned “changed” and more religious from a 2018 trip to Lebanon. Interviewed by the Lebanese newspaper The Orient-The DayHezbollah officials – who declined to comment on the case publicly – said they did not know him.

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Mutique, Hadi Matar appeared briefly in a New York state court on Saturday, where his lawyer pleaded not guilty during the arraignment hearing. Held in custody, he was charged with assault and attempted murder. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Premeditated gesture

The Chautauqua county prosecutor – the city where the assassination attempt took place –, who opposed any release on bail, did not fail to allude to the support which the accused could benefit from and the bounty promised in 1989 by Ayatollah Khomeini, author of the fatwa against the writer, to anyone who assassinated Salman Rushdie.

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“Even if this court were to set $1 million bail, there is a risk that it will be paid”, he commented. “His own financial resources do not count. [L’attaque] that took place is something that has been endorsed by far larger groups and organizations, and far beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of Chautauqua County”, added Mr. Schmidt, for whom Hadi Matar premeditated his gesture.

Arrived the day before the attempted murder, armed with a false identity document, Hadi Matar had traveled by bus to Chautauqua from New Jersey. He had a ticket to access the cultural center where he stabbed Salman Rushdie.

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