• Sunday, March 26, 2023


Iranian foundation offers land to Salman Rushdie’s attacker: State TV

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

An Iranian foundation has praised the man who attacked novelist Salman Rushdie last year, leaving him severely injured and said it will reward him with 1,000 square metres of agricultural land, state TV reported on Tuesday through its Telegram channel.

Rushdie, 75, lost an eye and the use of one hand following the assault by a 24-year-old Shi’ite Muslim American from New Jersey on the stage of a literary event held near Lake Erie in western New York in August.

“We sincerely thank the brave action of the young American who made Muslims happy by blinding one of Rushdie’s eyes and disabling one of his hands,” said Mohammad Esmail Zarei, secretary of the Foundation to Implement Imam Khomeini’s Fatwas.

“Rushdie is now no more than living dead and, to honour this brave action, about 1,000 square metres of agricultural land will be donated to the person or any of his legal representatives.”

The attack came 33 years after Shi’ite Iran’s late supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa or religious edict calling on Muslims to assassinate Rushdie following the release of his novel “The Satanic Verses”. Some Muslims saw passages about the Prophet Muhammad in the novel as blasphemous.

Rushdie, who was raised by Muslim Kashmiris and was born in India, spent nine years hiding out while being guarded by British police.

While a pro-reform Iranian government under president Mohammad Khatami distanced itself from the fatwa in the late 1990s, the multimillion-dollar bounty hanging over him has kept growing and the fatwa has never been lifted.

Khomeini’s successor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was suspended from Twitter in 2019 for saying the fatwa against Rushdie was “irrevocable.”

Hadi Matar, the man accused of attacking the author has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to charges of second-degree attempted murder and assault.

–  Reuters

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