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Iran's hardline newspapers praise Salman Rushdie's attacker Hadi Matar

Published on Aug 13, 2022 06:48 PM IST

Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak on Friday evening after the incident, condemned by writers and politicians around the world as an assault on the freedom of expression.

Indian-British author Salman Rushdie.(REUTERS file)
By, New Delhi

While Iran is yet to make an official statement on the attack on ‘The Satanic Verses’ author Salman Rushdie, several hardline newspapers in the country on Saturday openly praised the 24-year-old attacker. Rushdie's novel had drawn death threats from Iran since 1989.

Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and torso on Friday while onstage at a lecture in New York state by Hadi Matar, a man from Fairview, New Jersey, who had bought a pass to the event at the Chautauqua Institution.

The hardline Kayhan newspaper, whose editor-in-chief is appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote, “A thousand bravos ... to the brave and dutiful person who attacked the apostate and evil Salman Rushdie in New York." It added, “The hand of the man who tore the neck of God's enemy must be kissed”.

The Asr Iran news site carried an often cited quote by late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had issued a fatwa in 1989 that called on Muslims around the world to kill the Indian-born author, that said the "arrow" shot by the leader "will one day hit the target".

The headline of the hardline Vatan Emrooz newspaper read: “Knife in Salman Rushdie’s neck”.

Also Read | Salman Rushdie had once complained about ‘too much security’: Report

The Khorasan daily carried the headline: “Satan on the way to hell”.

In 2019, Twitter had suspended Khamenei’s account over a tweet that said Khomeini’s fatwa against Rushdie was “solid and irrevocable”.

Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak on Friday evening after the incident, condemned by writers and politicians around the world as an assault on the freedom of expression.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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