Iran’s hardline newspapers praise Salman Rushdie’s attacker


Author Salman Rushdie arrives at the High Court to settle a defamation lawsuit against Ron Evans, local media reported August 26, 2008 in London. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/File Photo

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Aug 13 (Reuters) – Several hard-line Iranian newspapers on Saturday praised the person who attacked and seriously injured author Salman Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses had sparked death threats from Iran since 1989.

There has been no official response in Iran to the attack on Rushdie, who was stabbed in the neck and torso on Friday at a lecture in upstate New York on Friday. Continue reading

However, the hardline Kayhan newspaper, whose editor-in-chief will be appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote:

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“A thousand bravos…to the brave and dutiful person who attacked the renegade and evil Salman Rushdie in New York,” adding, “The hand of the man who tore the neck of God’s enemy must be kissed.”

The leader of Iran‘s 1979 Islamic revolution, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, in 1989 calling on Muslims around the world to kill the Indian-born author after his book was condemned as blasphemous , which forced him into years of hiding.

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

Iranian news site Asr on Saturday ran an often-quoted quote from Khamenei that the “arrow” fired by Khomeini “will hit the target one day.”

The 15th Khordad Foundation, a wealthy Iranian religious organization, increased the bounty on Rushdie’s head to $2.5 million in 1997, eight years after it first offered a bounty. The foundation increased the amount to $3.3 million in 2012. Read more

The foundation, alongside numerous bodies overseen by Khamenei’s office, has not publicly responded to the attack on Rushdie, and did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment by Reuters on Saturday.

The hardline newspaper Vatan Emrooz headlined: “Knife in the throat of Salman Rushdie”.

The daily newspaper Khorasan headlined: “Satan on the way to hell”.

NBC New York quoted law enforcement sources as saying on Saturday that the suspect in the attack, California-born Hadi Matar, sympathized with Shia Muslim extremism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak on Friday night after the incident, which has been condemned by writers and politicians around the world as an attack on freedom of expression. Continue reading

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[email protected] Editing by Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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