24-year-old Hadi Matar, who stabbed Salman Rushdie last week, has admitted that he did not expect the controversial author to survive the attack.
In an exclusive interview with the New York Post on Wednesday, the attacker said when he heard Rushdie had survived he was ‘surprised’.
Hadi did not comment on whether the act was committed due to the fatwa issued by former Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini calling for the death of Salman Rushdie and anyone involved in the publication of his controversial book The Satanic Verses.
He did however praise the ayatollah, saying “I respect the ayatollah. I think he’s a great person. That’s as far as I will say about that.” Hadi also said he had only read a couple of pages of Rushdie’s controversial book saying, “I didn’t read it cover to cover.”
He said that he had acted completely on his own and made the decision to visit Chautauqua when he saw a tweet about Rushdie’s upcoming visit as he was to give a talk at the Chautauqua Institution.
“I don’t like the person. I don’t think he’s a very good person,” he said about Rushdie, adding, “He’s someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems.”
Indian-born Muslim Rushdie has suffered years of threats after the publishing of his book The Satanic Verses, which was considered by many Muslims to be blasphemous, and was banned in many Islamic countries.
Rushdie went into hiding for nearly a decade after the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then-Iran’s supreme leader, pronounced a fatwa calling for the death of the author and anyone involved in the book’s publication. A hefty bounty was placed on his head.