Hadi Matar, the man accused in the attempted murder of British author Salman Rushdie
State Department Calls Out Iran's 'Gloating' After Attack On Salman Rushdie Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Hadi Matar, the man who stabbed Salman Rushdie on Aug 12, expressed his surprise when he learned the author survived his injuries. In an interview last week, Matar seemed rather dismissive when asked about his assault on the 75-year-old author, but made strong comments about his disdain towards Rushdie. Speaking from behind bars at the Chautauqua County Jail in New York State, the 24-year-old suspect finally decided to break his silence about the attack.

“I don’t like the person. I don’t think he is a very good person. I don’t like him. I don’t like him very much,” said Matar when asked about his thoughts on Rushdie.

He then went on to declare his respect for the Ayatollah, saying he was a great person but remained tight-lipped on whether his actions were inspired by the fatwa issued in 1989 by the Iranian supreme leader. Matar remarked that Rushdie attacked Islam and gravely insulted their beliefs in the author’s book “ The Satanic Verses.” However, Matar said he had only read two pages of the controversial novel.

“I respect the ayatollah. I think he’s a great person. That’s as far as I will say about that,” he added.

Matar denied any ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Suggesting that he had acted completely alone. He did mention that he was inspired to go to Chautauqua after seeing a tweet that announced Rushdie’s visit this winter, the New York Post reported.

Rushdie had faced numerous death threats for decades since the publication of his novel, with a $3 million bounty placed on his death. His novel shook the Islamic world with devotees saying the book had insulted the prophet Muhammad.

During the interview, Matar described his trip from Fairview, New Jersey, to Buffalo, New York. He mentioned that he had slept outside the area the night before the author's scheduled lecture. Rushdie was stabbed 10 times by Matar during his talk after he jumped on stage, charged at the author, then proceeded to stab him repeatedly.

Matar’s mother reportedly disowned him when she learned of the attack. She claimed her son had a change of personality after returning from a month-long trip to the Middle East to visit his father, noting that he had become more detached and isolated himself in their basement. He is currently being held without bail, over fear that the bounty might be awarded to him for the assault on the author’s life.

UPMC Hamot hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania where Salman Rushdie is being treated
A general view shows UPMC Hamot hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, on August 18, 2022, where British author Salman Rushdie is being treated. - The severely injured author is recovering and showing signs of his "feisty and defiant" self, family and friends said, after the shocking assault left him on a ventilator with multiple stab wounds on August 12, 2022. Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

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