As justice advances and while Salman Rushdie continues on the road to recovery after receiving 10 stab wounds last Friday when he was preparing to give a lecture at a cultural event in Chautauqua, New York, the portrait of Hadhi Matar, the 24-year-old accused of trying to assassinate the author of ‘The Satanic Verses’. Matar’s mother, Silvana Fardos, explained in a recent interview with ‘The Daily Mail’ that her son “changed” on a month-long trip she made to the Lebanon in 2018 to visit his father, who had returned to his home country after divorcing Fandos in 2004.
Matar, born in California but settled with his mother in New Jersey after the divorce, returned from that trip more “introvert”, as explained by Fandos. He started to isolate of her and her two sisters, turn more to religion and to question her for not having given her more religious education.
“I expected him to come back motivated, to finish high school, to graduate and get a job, but instead heand locked in the basement”, Fandos has said. “had changed a lot”.
Distance with Iran
Matar himself has not talked about that trip in a brief 15-minute interview by videoconference that he gave on Wednesday from the Chautauqua County jail to the tabloid ‘New York Post’, something that his court-appointed attorney has assured that he did not have. prior knowledge. Curiously, Matar has appealed to a recommendation from that lawyer to avoid answering questions about whether his actions were related to the fatwa that Ayatollah Khomeini issued against Rushdie in 1989. The young man has limited himself to showing his “respect” for the figure of the former supreme leader of Iran. He has also denied having any contact with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and has claimed that he acted alone.
Matar has told the tabloid that he “surprised” upon learning that Rushdie had survived his attack and has confessed that, although he has seen videos of the author’s lectures on YouTube, I had only read “a couple of pages” of ‘The Satanic Verses‘ Y “not through and through”. “I don’t like (Rushdie), I don’t think he’s a good person. He attacked Islam, its beliefs, their system of beliefs”, has declared Matar, who has also branded the writer as “false”.
The suspect appeared this Thursday before the Chautuaqua County Court, where they have been presented charges ratified after investigations by a grand jury of attempted second degree murderwhich carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and assault (for the injuries sustained by the moderator of the Rushdie conference). As he did on Saturday in a preliminary hearing, Matar has declared himself “not guilty“. His next appearance in court, according to Reuters, has been set for the September 22.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.