Iran condemned for blaming Salman Rushdie for attack – live

Iran condemned for blaming Salman Rushdie for attack - live
Author, 75, was target of ‘fatwa’ by Iranian religious leaders over 1988 book The Satanic Verses

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Author Salman Rushdie attacked on stage in New York

Iran has been condemned by a senior UK politician for its “sickening” claim that Sir Salman Rushie has no one to blame but himself for getting stabbed.

David Lammy, the UK’s shadow foreign secretary, urged the government to urgently put “diplomatic pressure” on the Iranian government to apologise for the remarks.

“It is truly sickening that the Iranian government has the audacity to blame Salman Rushdie and his supporters for the brutal attack on his life,” Mr Lammy said.

Earlier, Iran sought to distance itself from the attack.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said that Sir Salman, attacked in New York state on Friday night as he prepared to deliver a lecture on freedom of expression,.

“Salman Rushdie and his supporters are to blame for what happened to him,” he said. “Freedom of speech does not justify Salman Rushdie’s insults upon religion and offence of its sanctities.”

A fatwa, or religious edict, calling on Muslims to kill the author was issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, the then Iranian leader, in 1989 – a year after Satanic Versus was published. It was never revoked

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ICYMI: Iran denies involvement and says author himself is to blame for attack

Iran has denied any involvement in the New York stabbing of Sir Salman Rushdie, arguing that only the author and his supporters are to be blamed for the attack.

My colleague Alisha Rahaman Sarkar has the full story:

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Who is Hadi Matar?

Matar is the son of a man from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, according to Ali Tehfe, the town’s mayor. Matar’s parents emigrated to the United States, where he was born and raised, the mayor said, adding he had no information on their political views.

The Iran-backed armed group Hezbollah holds significant sway in Yaroun, where posters of Khomeini and IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2020, adorned walls at the weekend.

A Hezbollah official told Reuters on Saturday that the group had no additional information on Friday’s attack.

His mother said he “changed” from being a “popular, loving son” to a “moody introvert” after visiting the Middle East in 2018.

Mr Matar, upon his return, lived in the basement, slept during the days and woke up and ate during the night, she said. He was born in the US to Lebanese parents.

“I was expecting him to come back motivated, to complete school, to get his degree and a job. But instead he locked himself in the basement. He had changed a lot, he didn’t say anything to me or his sisters for months.”

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Review of suspect’s social media accounts show he was sympathetic to Shi’ite extremism

An initial law enforcement review of Matar’s social media accounts showed he was sympathetic to Shi’ite extremism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to NBC New York. Washington accuses the IRGC of carrying out a global extremist campaign.

IRGC-affiliated Jam-e Jam and other hardline Iranian state media outlets celebrated the attack and some Iranians voiced support for it online.

Matar is the son of a man from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, according to Ali Tehfe, the town’s mayor. Matar’s parents emigrated to the United States, where he was born and raised, the mayor said, adding he had no information on their political views.

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Iran comments ‘truly sickening’

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy has labelled as “truly sickening” comments by an Iranian government official about the assault on author Sir Salman Rushdie.

Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman of Iran’s foreign ministry, denied involvement by Tehran and implied that Sir Salman brought the attack on himself.

Mr Lammy said: “It is truly sickening that the Iranian government has the audacity to blame Salman Rushdie and his supporters for the brutal attack on his life.

“Salman Rushdie is an inspirational writer and a courageous defender of our values. Any attack on him is an assault on free speech and liberty.

“The UK government must urgently put diplomatic pressure on the Iranian government to withdraw and apologise for these shameful comments.”

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New York governor Kathy Hochul condemns attack

New York governor Kathy Hochul has condemned the attack on Sir Salman.

Speaking at a lecture on Sunday, she said that “a man with a knife cannot silence a man with a pen.”

Ms Hochul was elected to office in August left year, after Andrew Cuomo resigned ovr sexual harassment allegations, which he denies.

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Iranian institutions have incited violence

US secretary of state Antony Blinken, while not directly blaming Tehran for the attack on Rushdie, made a point to mention Iran in a statement early Monday praising the writer’s efforts in supporting freedom of expression and religion.

“Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life,” Blinken said. “This is despicable.”

The White House has also condemned the attack.

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Margaret Atwood: Rushdie ‘embodied’ freedom of expression

Margaret Atwood has said Sir Salman Rushdie “never missed an opportunity to speak out on behalf of the principles he had been embodying all his writing life” adding that “freedom of expression was foremost among these”.

The Canadian writer and two-time Booker Prize-winner, 82, is among figures from the literary world who have condemned the attack on Sir Salman, 75, in which he was stabbed at a lecture in New York on Friday.

Writing in The Guardian, Atwood, who penned the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, said of Sir Salman: “He has ticked every box except the Nobel prize: he has been knighted; he is on everyone’s list of significant British writers; he has collected an impressive bouquet of prizes and honours, but, most importantly, he has touched and inspired a great many people around the globe.

“A huge number of writers and readers have long owed him a major debt.

“Suddenly, they owe him another one. He has long defended freedom of artistic expression against all-comers; now, even should he recover from his injuries, he is a martyr to it.

“In any future monument to murdered, tortured, imprisoned and persecuted writers, Rushdie will feature large.”

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Mother of Salman Rushdie stabbing suspect says he ‘changed’ after Middle East trip

The mother of the 24-year-old suspect accused of attempting to murder Sir Salman Rushdie says the man “changed” from being a “popular, loving son” to a “moody introvert” after visiting the Middle East in 2018.

Sir Salman, 75, was stabbed nearly 10 times, including in the neck and the abdomen, on Friday by a man who rushed onto the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in New York.

My colleague Alisha Rahaman Sarkar reports:

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Iran says Rushdie to blame for own stabbing

Iran has denied any involvement in the New York stabbing of Sir Salman Rushdie, arguing that only the author and his supporters are to be blamed for the attack.

Sir Salman, who has been receiving death threats for his novel The Satanic Verses, was stabbed nearly 10 times, including in the neck and the abdomen, on Friday by a man who rushed onto the stage as the author was preparing to deliver a lecture.

My colleague Alisha Rahaman Sarkar reports:

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Good morning

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of the attack on author Sir Salman Rushdie.

Iran has today tried to distance itself from the stabbing, which has sparked fears about freedom of expression.

The suspect’s mother has also spoken out about the attack. We’ll have more updates on this story as they come in.

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