A man who allegedly stabbed Sir Salman Rushdie reportedly said he did not believe the writer would survive.
Hadi Matar, 24, denies attempted murder and assault charges after the author was seriously injured while giving a talk in Chautauqua, New York, last Friday.
The 75-year-old Indian-born Briton has received death threats for decades since Iran’s then-leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or edict, in 1989 calling for mr salman Be killed.
It came after his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, was seen as blasphemous by some Muslims.
Speaking to the New York Post from the Chautauqua County Jail, Matar said of Rushdie: “When I heard he survived, I was surprised, I guess.”
He also said, “I don’t like the person. I don’t think he’s a very good person. I don’t like him. I don’t like him very much.”
“He’s someone who attacked Islam, attacked their beliefs, belief systems.”
According to the Post, Matar continued: “I respect the Ayatollah. I think he is a great person. That is all I will say on the matter.” He noted that he only “read a couple of pages” of Sir Salman’s controversial novel.
He did not say whether he was inspired by the late Ayatollah, citing a warning from his lawyer.
Sir Salman was stabbed about 12 times, including to the face and neck, when he was presented at the Chautauqua Institution, local officials said.
A preliminary review of Matar’s social media showed he was sympathetic to Shiite extremism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, according to NBC News, which cited a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation.
The defendant, from Fairview in New Jersey, who appeared in court, denied having been in contact with the Revolutionary Guards and said he was inspired to go to Chautauqua after seeing a tweet announcing Sir Salman’s visit sometime this winter. .
He described taking a bus to Buffalo the day before he allegedly stabbed Rushdie and then taking a cab to Chautauqua.
“It’s a nice place,” he said, referring to the institution.
“He was tossing and turning quite a bit. Not doing anything in particular, just walking around,” he added, saying he slept on the grass Thursday night. “I was outside the whole time.”
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The Iranian Foreign Ministry has said that the writer caused the stabbing that left him with ‘life-changing’ injuries to himself.
One stab wound pierced his eye and another pierced his liver, the Chautauqua County district attorney’s office said.
Sir Salman was also stabbed in another part of the abdomen and chest.
His son said Sunday that his father has been “able to say a few words” and retains his “usual feisty, defiant sense of humor”.
Zafar Rushdie said Sir Salman remained in a “critical condition” but was removed from his ventilator on Saturday.
Police said the event’s moderator, Henry Reese, suffered a minor head injury after being attacked.