Rushdie ‘on the road to recovery’; Iran justifies attack on novelist

by mcardinal

Trey Paul, FISM News 

 

Acclaimed and controversial author Salman Rushdie, the Indian-born novelist who was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his book “The Satanic Verses,” remains in critical condition but is off a ventilator after being repeatedly stabbed at a lecture in New York on Friday. 

According to part of a family statement shared on Twitter by Rushdie’s son, the author is dealing with “life changing” injuries but his “usual feisty and defiant sense of humor remains intact.”

 

 

Rushdie, 75, was taken off the ventilator on Saturday and could “say a few words.” His agent says he is dealing with severe injuries, including nerve damage in his arm and liver wounds, and will likely lose his eye. 

Living under a death threat for decades, Rushdie was about to deliver a lecture on artistic freedom at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York when police say a man ran up on stage and stabbed him in the neck and chest.

The suspect, 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault. He continues to be held without bail.

Matar is the son of a man from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, according to the town’s mayor. The mayor says Matar’s parents emigrated to the United States prior to his birth and Matar was born and raised stateside. While Matar has not stated his motive for the attack, according to the New York Post, previous social media posts show that he was sympathetic toward the Iranian government.

Some Muslims have long been incensed over Rushdie’s 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses,” calling it blasphemous. The year after it was published, Iran’s then-supreme leader issued an edict, calling on Muslims to kill the novelist and anyone involved in the book’s publication. 

Iranian leaders have denied involvement in the attack, but have said Rushdie and his supporters are to blame. On Monday, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry in Tehran said no one has the right to level accusations against Iran over Friday’s attack, claiming Rushdie is at fault for “denigrating the world’s Muslims.” 

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken blasted Iran for the attack, saying, “Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life. This is despicable.”

Writers and politicians around the world have condemned what happened Friday with many calling it an attack on free speech. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his outrage on social media tweeting that he is “appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend.” His spokesperson also called Iran’s insistence that Rushdie was to blame for the attack “ludicrous.” 

 

 

J.K Rowling, author of the famed Harry Potter series, received a death threat herself after tweeting her support of Rushdie. In response to a tweet in which Rowling said, “Feeling very sick right now. Let him be ok,” one user responded, “Don’t worry you are next.”

Rowling reached out to the now infamous Twitter Support team which is tasked with censoring tweets, wondering why they had not taken action.

 

 

The governing board of Twitter has come under criticism by many for tamping down conservative voices, including former President Donald Trump, while allowing many extremists to go unchecked on their platform. Rowling’s tweet shows how the governing board allowed the threat to go unchecked, highlighting further how Twitter is selective in its adherence to the ideals of free speech.

Scotland police have since opened an investigation into the online threat.

A day after the attack on his father, Zafar Rushdie tweeted “Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.”

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