Last modified on January 21, 2023, at 07:00

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie (born June 19, 1947, Mumbai, India) is a major novelist in the English language. His most famous work, Midnight's Children, depicts the independence and partition of India and Pakistan in allegorical form. It won the Booker Prize for the best novel of the year by an author writing in English in a Commonwealth country or Ireland. It subsequently won the 'Booker of Bookers' for the best of the first 25 winners of the Booker Prize.

His later novel The Satanic Verses aroused controversy, angering many radical Muslims who believed that Rushdie's portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad (an illustration of a legend surrounding the prophet) was blasphemous. Rushdie's book tells the story of original instructions from Muhammad that the Muslim people should worship three ancient pagan goddesses that had been worshiped in Mecca before the time of Islam. According to the story, Muhammad later recanted the verses, saying that the devil had persuaded him to add them. In 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran declared a fatwa[1] on Rushdie, mandating his execution under Islamic law. Because of this, Rushdie was forced to live in fear for his life, under police protection for more than a decade.

Although Rushdie was born a Muslim, he has made public comments in support of atheism. That, combined with his largely liberal politics, means his writing should be approached with caution. After the terror attacks against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo he said: "Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms".[2] However Rushdie does not observe the danger of Militant atheism.

Rushdie was knighted in his adopted country, the United Kingdom, in June 2007. He also has American citizenship.


On Aug 12, 2022, an Arab-Muslim Hadi Matar, with sympathies toward Iranian government was arrested after stabbing Salman Rushdie.[3] Described by eyewitnesses as viciously stabbing, repeatedly.[4]

Matar was charged with second-degree attempted murder and assault.[5]

Reaction to stabbing

Hadi Matar was immediately praised by pro Iran, Hezbollah as a Lebanese hero.[6]

Later on, Hezbollah Supporters Celebrate 'Holy Stabbing,'[7]

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei praised the stabbing and said fatwa against Satanic Verses author was 'fired like a bullet that won't rest until it hits its target'[8]

Iranian Newspaper praised Salman Rushdie's attacker.[9]

Activists accused Iran of responsibility for attack.[10] Adding "that a bounty of over 3 million dollars for Rushdie's life offered by Iran's 15 Khordad Foundation remains on offer."

After publicized celebrating the attack in Iran, the other day, the cynical Islamic Republic itself dared to blame Rushdie himself and his supporters for the brutal stabbing.[11]

The attack sparked threats against journalists in Lebanon. Matar's parents' native country.[12]

On Hadi Matar

The Arab Islamist, born to Lebanese immigrants, expressed pro Shiite fanaticism, strong sympathy to the Iranian leader and IRGC,[3] Qasem Soleimani.[13] In addition, Hadi Matar retweeted an image of a big knife.[14]

Matar carried a fake driver's license in name of Hezbollah's most notorious figures was Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in a CIA-linked assassination in Syria in 2008.[15]

Attacker's mother says her son "changed" after a trip to Lebanon in 2018.[12]

Hadi Matar had contact With Iran's Revolutionary Guard (IRGC).[16]


  1. Jennifer Schuessler, Stabbing of Salman Rushdie Renews Free Speech Debates, The New York Times, August 15, 2022.

    Two years ago Salman Rushdie joined prominent cultural figures signing an open letter decrying an increasingly "intolerant climate" and warning that the "free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted." It was a declaration of principles Mr. Rushdie had embodied since 1989, when a fatwa by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, calling for his murder, made him a reluctant symbol of free speech…. In the West, the defense of Mr. Rushdie was hardly universally robust. Former president Jimmy Carter, writing in The New York Times in 1989, denounced the fatwa but charged Rushdie with "vilifying" the Prophet Muhammad and "defaming" the Quran.

    "While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important," he wrote, "we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated and are suffering in restrained silence the added embarrassment of the Ayatollah's irresponsibility."… Some who weighed in said the stakes are simply too high — and too personal. After the attack, Roya Hakakian, an Iranian American writer who in 2019 was warned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that she had been targeted by Iran, took to Twitter on Saturday to assail what she said was a lack of swift condemnation from U.S. government officials…. In an interview on Sunday, Ms. Hakakian, who came to the United States as a refugee in 1984, said that the heart of the Rushdie case is "being able to say that we, as writers, as novelists, as thinkers, can absolutely take on any issue we want in our works — and that includes Islam." But "nobody is saying that," she said. Instead, "people are paying lip service to free speech." In his recent autobiographical novel "Homeland Elegies," the American writer Ayad Akhtar reflects on the complex meanings of the “Satanic Verses” controversy for Muslim readers and writers, including himself. In an email on Sunday, Mr. Akhtar, who is PEN America’s current president, said the attack on Mr. Rushdie is "a reminder that ‘harms’ of speech and the freedom of speech do not, cannot, hold equal claims on us." "While we may rightly acknowledge that speech can harm," he said, "it’s in the terrible culmination of Salman's dilemma that we see the paramount value, the absolute centrality of freedom of thought and the freedom to express that thought.” For many, defending Mr. Rushdie and "The Satanic Verses" against his would-be assassins may be easy, Mr. Akhtar said. But the defense also "has to apply where we have less unanimity, where we are more implicated."

    "That’s what it means," he said, "for it to be a principle."
  2. Stephanie Linning, "Salma Rushdie condemns Charlie Hebdo attack" ' Daily Mail online, 7 January 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Joe Marino and Evan Simko-Bednarski, NJ man, Hadi Matar, with sympathies toward Iranian government ID’d as suspect in Salman Rushdie stabbing, NYPost, August 12, 2022.
    Hadi Matar, 24, was arrested after he stormed the stage at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York and allegedly stabbed the author in the neck.
  4. Salman Rushdie in surgery after being stabbed onstage; suspect arrested, AFP, Aug 13, 2022.
    Carl LeVan, an American University politics professor attending the event, told AFP he saw the suspect run onto the stage where Rushdie was seated and "stabbed him repeatedly and viciously."
  5. Paul P. Murphy, Aya Elamroussi, Nicki Brown, Samantha Beech, Liam Reilly and Ray Sanchez, Suspect in Salman Rushdie attack pleads not guilty to second-degree attempted murder and assault charges, attorney says, CNN, Aug 14, 2022.
  6. A 'Lebanese Hero': Iranian Outlet Praises Assailant Behind Attempted Murder of Novelist Salman Rushdie, Algemeiner, Aug 12, 2022
  7. "Hezbollah Supporters Celebrate 'Holy Stabbing' of Salman Rushdie", Asharq Al-Awsat, Aug 14, 2022.
  8. Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei praises stabbing of Salman Rushdie and says fatwa against Satanic Verses author was 'fired like a bullet that won't rest until it hits its target' as Islamic hardliners celebrate, Daily Mail, Aug 13, 2022.
  9. Iranian Newspaper Praises Salman Rushdie's Attacker, The Daily Beast, Aug 13, 2022.
  10. Activists accused Iran of responsibility for Rushdie attack, AFP, France 24. Aug 13, 2022.

    While the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini over Rushdie's novel "The Satanic Verses" has for some time not been part of daily discourse in Iran, the clerical leadership under his successor Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also did nothing to indicate it no longer stood and on occasions underlined the decree was still valid. The multiple stabbing of Rushdie at an event in New York comes at an intensely sensitive time for Iran, as it considers an offer by world powers to revive the 2015 deal on its nuclear programme which would ease sanctions that have battered the economy. During a period of relative thaw between Tehran and the West under former president Mohammad Khatami, ex-foreign minister Kamal Kharazi had in 1998 pledged that Iran would not take steps to endanger the life of Rushdie, who for years was in hiding.

    But an answer posted to a question on Khamenei's website in February 2017 said that the fatwa was still valid. "Answer: The decree is as Imam Khomeini issued," it said. The @khamenei_ir Twitter account, which repeats Khamenei's views and activists have repeatedly said should be suspended, in 2019 posted that the fatwa was "solid and irrevocable". Activists also insist that a bounty of over 3 million dollars for Rushdie's life offered by Iran's 15 Khordad Foundation remains on offer.

    'Real Islamic republic'

    “Whether today's assassination attempt was ordered directly by Tehran or not, it is almost certainly the result of 30 years of the regime's incitement to violence against this celebrated author," said the Washington-based National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI).

    The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an opposition group outlawed in Iran, said that the attack had taken place at the "instigation" of Khomeini's fatwa.
  11. Hear who Iran blames for Salman Rushdie's stabbing, CNN Video, Aug 15, 2022.
    Famed author Salman Rushdie is recovering at a hospital after being repeatedly stabbed on stage in an attack that left him with multiple severe injuries, his family said. Iran responded denying any link to the stabbing of and cast the blame on the author and his supporters for the attack that left him with life-changing injuries.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Salman Rushdie attack sparks threats against journalists in Lebanon." MENA, Aug 15, 2022.
    The debate over freedom of expression in Lebanon is particularly noteworthy, given that Rushdie's attacker, Hadi Matar, himself has Lebanese...

    “Everyone has their own opinion,” tweeted Lebanon’s caretaker Minister of Culture Mohammad Mortada on Monday. “But The Satanic Verses are inferiors that are used by [Satan] to use defamation and slander in attacking those who are superior to them — and those who accompany Satan become his agents.” He went on to say: “With regard to free speech, it should be polite. Those who [disrespect] adults with insults and rancour have nothing to do with morality or ‘honesty’, neither by lineage nor fame.” It was an apparent response to a tweet by journalist and TV presenter Dima Sadek — whose last name in Arabic means “honest”.

    Last week, Sadek tweeted an image of former Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the late commander Qassem Suleimani with the caption, “The Satanic Verses”. The tweet caused a backlash among supporters of Iran-backed Hezbollah and its ally the Amal Movement, and led to a series of death threats against her. In addition to holding a position in Lebanon’s caretaker Cabinet, Mr Mortada is a judge who has twice served as a member of the Supreme Judicial Council — a 10-member administrative body that approves the appointment of judges. The debate over freedom of expression in Lebanon is particularly noteworthy, given that Rushdie's attacker, Hadi Matar, himself has Lebanese roots.

    Lebanese roots

    The attack brought attention to the small Lebanese village of Yaroun, which has a link to Mr Matar, the 24-year-old man charged with attempting to murder the author at the weekend in the US...
  13. Who is Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old who attacked Salman Rushdie?, FPJ in. Aug 13, 2022.
    ...expressed viewpoints sympathetic to the cause of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC). Investigators reportedly found images of Iranian commander Qassem Solemani, who was assassinated in 2020, in a cell phone messaging app belonging to Matar.
  14. ACOM @ACOM_es:
    The same Hadi Matar who has tried to assassinate Salman Rushdie, with a Twitter profile (posting) the killing of Jews, with constant proclamation in favor of Hezbollah, and with his album-groupie of Iranian financiers of terrorism. You didn't see it coming ? What's up? [1]

    -- Aug 13, 2022.
    (Image of knife, accompanied words: "The knife, Zion," on May 5, 2022. It was the day "Palestinian" terrorists with axes brutally attacked Haredim in Elad --who they know, mostly do not even serve in the army).

  15. Andrea Cavallier and Emma James and Paul Farrell, Man, 24, who stabbed Salman Rushdie had fake driver's license in name of HEZBOLLAH commander and praised Iran's Revolutionary Guard on social media: Author is on ventilator, will likely lose an eye, his arm nerves are severed and his liver damaged, Daily Mail, Aug 13, 2022.
  16. Mitchell Prothero, Salman Rushdie Stabbing Suspect 'Had Contact With Iran's Revolutionary Guard'], Vice, Aug 14, 2022.
    Intel officials told VICE World News Hadi Matar had been in contact with members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. ..

    The 24-year-old man accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie had been in direct contact with members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on social media, European and Middle Eastern intelligence officials told VICE World News. Hadi Matar has been charged with attempted murder after Rushdie, 75, was repeatedly stabbed on stage ahead of a speaking event in Chautauqua, New York, on Friday. On Sunday, Rushdie’s son Zafar Rushdie said his father was in a critical condition and had sustained “life-changing” injuries but had been taken off a ventilator and had been able to speak.

    A NATO counterterrorism official from a European country said the stabbing had all the hallmarks of a “guided” attack, where an intelligence service talks a supporter into action, without direct support or involvement in the attack itself.

    “Close scrutiny needs to be paid to his communications,” said the NATO official, who was not authorised to speak on the record. “More investigation will reveal more information on the exact nature of the links.”... Security officials who confirmed the social media contact would not elaborate on the nature of the communications because investigations are ongoing. They would not disclose who initiated the contact, when it took place, or what was discussed.

    A Middle Eastern intelligence official said it was “clear” that at some point prior to the attack, Matar had been in contact with “people either directly involved with or adjacent to the Quds Force,” referring to the Revolutionary Guard’s external operations force...