More is slowly becoming known about the man who carried out an attack on the writer Salman Rushdie: It is said that he showed interest in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on the Internet. Meanwhile, charges of attempted murder are being brought against him.
Salman Rushdie's assassin faces charges of attempted murder and assault in the United States. Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said the 24-year-old will be charged with those allegations. He was taken into custody.
The broadcaster NBC New York reported, citing investigators, that the 24-year-old suspect had sympathized with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and with Shiite extremism on social networks on the Internet. So far, however, no direct contacts have been established. He was born in California and recently moved to New Jersey. According to Lebanese authorities, his parents are from Lebanon. The police have not yet commented on the attacker's motive.
Rushdie was attacked with a knife by an assailant on stage at a lecture event in upstate New York on Friday. After an emergency operation, the 75-year-old writer was put on a ventilator. According to his literary agent Andrew Wylie, Rushdie is likely to lose an eye. In addition, nerves in one arm were severed and his liver injured.
Two weeks ago, Rushdie explained in an interview with the magazine "Stern": "Such a fatwa is a serious matter. But that was a long time ago." Referring to calls for assassination by Iranian clerics, he explained: "That was a long time ago, you know, meanwhile my life is relatively normal again." When asked what he fears today, Rushdie replied: "I used to say - religious fanaticism. I don't say that anymore. The greatest danger at the moment is that we will lose our democracy."
In Iran, meanwhile, several media outlets welcomed the knife attack on the writer, who became world famous with the novel "The Satanic Verses". The pro-government newspaper "Kayhan", whose editor-in-chief will be appointed by Iran's secular and spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, wrote: "A thousand bravos (...) for the courageous and dutiful person who attacked the renegade and evil Salman Rushdie in New York Has." It went on to say, "The hand of the man who wrung the throat of the enemy of God must be kissed."
Because of Rushdie's novel "The Satanic Verses," Khamenei's predecessor Khomeini published a fatwa - an Islamic legal opinion - in 1989 that called for the author's assassination. Many Muslims saw the book as blasphemy and an insult to the Prophet Muhammad. The book was banned in many Islamic countries. The Iranian leadership later backed down from this call. However, Khamenei declared in 2019 that the fatwa was irrevocable. Iranian organizations had offered a reward for killing Rushdie.
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser blamed Iran for the assassination. "The responsibility for this terrible bloody deed is shared by those who have pursued Salman Rushdie for decades and threatened him with death," said the SPD politician to "Bild am Sonntag".