Hadi Matar: Minutes after he stabbed writer Salman Rushdie on Friday, police took the 24-year-old into custody. Rushdie, a UK-based best-selling author of Indian origin, was attacked Friday evening at a book event at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. Witnesses said the incident happened minutes after the author sat on the stage and was about to be introduced.
The 75-year-old, who was born in Bombay, has faced Islamist death threats over the years for writing the novel ‘The Satanic Verses’. The book was banned soon after publication in several countries including India, and a fatwa was launched against Rushdie by the then Supreme Leader of Iran.
Bradley Fischer, who was in the audience, told Reuters news agency: “A man jumped on stage, I don’t know where to start and what looked like hitting him in the chest, punched him repeatedly in the chest and neck.” After some time the attacker was taken into police custody. Here’s what we know about him. Stanizewski said that at 10.47 a.m. local time (8.17 p.m. IST), Rushdie had arrived on stage at the Chautauqua Institution for the event.
“Soon thereafter, the suspect jumped onto the stage and attacked Rushdie, stabbing him in the neck at least once and in the stomach at least once,” he said.
Stanizewski said that several members of the organization and members of the audience ran up to the suspect and dragged him to the ground. A New York State Police personnel present at the institution, assisted by the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s deputy, took the suspect into custody.
Photos showed a man wearing an army fatigues shirt and jacket and frog-marching in a police vehicle.
Author Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator and may have lost one eye after surgery following a knife attack at a literary event in New York, US. The attacker has been identified as Hadi Matar, 24, of New Jersey.
Matar’s initial reviews of social media showed him sympathetic to the cause of “Shia extremism” and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC).
Although there is no direct link between Matar and the IRGC, investigators found images of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, who was assassinated in 2020, in a cell phone messaging app allegedly belonging to Matar.
Hadi Matar reportedly jumped on stage as Rushdie was about to give a speech at the Chautauqua Institute near New York City, which hosts arts events. Interviewer Henry Reese also suffered a head injury in the attack.
Police believe that Matar was “acting alone”. However, officials are “in the process of obtaining search warrants for various items. There was a bag at the spot. There were also electronic devices”.
Hadi Matar is from Fairview, New Jersey. Officials are still investigating Matar’s nationality and his criminal record, if any.