Police have arrested a New Jersey man over stabbing novelist Salman Rushdie on the stage during a lecture in New York. Hadi Matar, the suspect is sympathetic toward the Iranian government and Islamic Revolutionary Guard, according to the initial investigation.
When Rushdie was going to deliver a lecture on the stage for the CHQ 2022 event in Chautauqua, near Buffalo, on Friday morning, Matar suddenly rushed to the stage, punching the novelist before stabbing him up to 15 times in front of horrified witnesses.
Matar Supports Shia Extremism
Rushdie's novel Satanic Verses which was published in the 1980s was viewed as blasphemous by Muslims. At least 45 people were killed in a riot over the book and it was banned by Iran. Former Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa, calling for Rushdie's death.
With the initial review of Matar's social media presence, officials believe that he is sympathetic to Shia extremism.
Matar Was Angry Over Soleimani's Assassination
It appears that Matar supported former Quds Forces Chief Qasem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the US in a drone attack in Baghdad during the Trump administration.
Investigators found images of Iranian commander Qasem Solemani in a cell phone messaging app belonging to Matar.
Matar Had Received Pass To Attend The Event
Matar, who is from Fairview, New Jersey, had received the pass to attend the event. Currently, officials believe that he was operating alone however they still need to search for his criminal records if any.
No charges were immediately announced against the suspect, who was awaiting arraignment on Friday.
Matar's New Jersey home was blocked off by authorities. The author was stabbed ahead of a planned talk about "the United States as [an] asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression," according to New York Post.