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‘I’m surprised he survived’: Salman Rushdie’s attacker speaks from prison after frenzied stabbing

Salman Rushdie’s attacker has said that he is ‘surprised’ that the author survived, and admitted that he only read a ‘couple of pages’ of his Satanic Verses.

Hadi Matar, 24, slammed Rushdie for ‘attacking Islam’, before adding ‘I don’t like him very much’ in a jailhouse interview.

Rushdie, 75, had to undergo emergency surgery after Matar allegedly stabbed him multiple times as he took to the stage to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institute on August 12.

In an interview with the New York Post from the Chautauqua County Jail, Matar, from Fairvew, New Jersey, said that he was ‘surprised’ that the author survived.

He said: ‘I don’t like the person. I don’t think he’s a very good person, I don’t like him. I don’t like him very much.

‘He’s someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems.’

Rushdie had suffered three stab wounds to the neck, four to the stomach, puncture wounds to his right eye and chest as well as a laceration on his right thigh.

When asked if he was inspired by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued the fatwa against Rushdie in 1989, Matar wouldn’t say – claiming his lawyer told him not to speak on the issue.

He said: ‘I respect the Ayatollah. I think he’s a great person. That’s as far as I will say about that.’

Matar  has spoken out saying he ‘doesn’t like’ Rushdie in a jailhouse interview, but would not say if he was inspired by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issuing a fatwa

The 24-year-old said that he was 'surprised' that Rushdie survived the attack, after he was stabbed multiple times in the violent attack

The 24-year-old said that he was ‘surprised’ that Rushdie survived the attack, after he was stabbed multiple times in the violent attack

Author Salman Rushdie was taken off a ventilator and able to talk Saturday, a day after he was stabbed in upstate New York and airlifted (above) to hospital for emergency surgery

Author Salman Rushdie was taken off a ventilator and able to talk Saturday, a day after he was stabbed in upstate New York and airlifted (above) to hospital for emergency surgery 

Matar said that he was inspired to go to the lecture after seeing a tweet announcing Rushdie’s visit this year.

He denied that he had been in contact with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, but admitted he had watched videos of Rushdie on YouTube.

British-born Booker Prize winning author Sir Salman Rushdie (pictured in 2019) got death threats and was issued a fatwah by Iran for his 1988 novel, the Satanic Verses. He has lived in the U.S. since 2000 and was preparing to give a lecture about America being a haven for writers in exile

British-born Booker Prize winning author Sir Salman Rushdie (pictured in 2019) got death threats and was issued a fatwah by Iran for his 1988 novel, the Satanic Verses. He has lived in the U.S. since 2000 and was preparing to give a lecture about America being a haven for writers in exile

Officials believe that Matar travelled from his home in Fairview, New Jersey, to Buffalo via bus and used a ridesharing app to reach Chautauqua the day before the attack.

He confirmed that he had taken a bus to Buffalo, before getting a Lyft to travel to the institute.  

Matar said: ‘I saw a lot of lectures, I don’t like people who are disingenuous like that.

‘I was hanging around pretty much. Not doing anything in particular, just walking around. I was just outside the whole time.’

He added that the Chautauqua Institution was a ‘nice place’, and that he slept in the grass the night before the attack. 

Matar has also complained about the food and conditions in the local jail, saying he is doing ‘alright’ but the food they have given him is ‘not allowed’ in his religion. 

Zafar Rushdie, 42, confirmed that his father had been taken off a ventilator over the weekend and had managed to speak a few words.

Rushdie remains at UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania, but is now able to answer investigators questions about the attack. Hadi Matar, 24, pictured, has been charged with attempted murder and assault

Rushdie remains at UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania, but is now able to answer investigators questions about the attack. Hadi Matar, 24, pictured, has been charged with attempted murder and assault

Matar, pictured with Sheriff's deputies, confirmed that he had taken a bus to Buffalo, before getting a Lyft to travel to the institute on Thursday. He claims he slept in the grass

Matar, pictured with Sheriff’s deputies, confirmed that he had taken a bus to Buffalo, before getting a Lyft to travel to the institute on Thursday. He claims he slept in the grass

Horrified bystanders and staff tend to Mr Rushdie on stage after the attack. Matar denied that he had been in contact with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, but admitted he had watched videos of Rushdie on YouTube

Horrified bystanders and staff tend to Mr Rushdie on stage after the attack. Matar denied that he had been in contact with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, but admitted he had watched videos of Rushdie on YouTube

Yesterday sources revealed that the author was awake and was helping investigators with the inquiries into the brutal attack.

But law enforcement sources have now revealed that the Booker-Prize winning author has been able to ‘articulate’ with investigators according to CNN.

It is unclear exactly what Rushdie told investigators about the attack, but authorities have confirmed that it is an ongoing investigation.

Friends also confirmed over the weekend that the author was off his ventilator and had been talking and joking with those at UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt that the attack was targeted and preplanned by Matar, and confirmed that he may lose his right eye.

During his arraignment over the weekend Matar pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted murder and assault.

Moderator Henry Reese also revealed his gruesome eye injury that he sustained on stage during the attack on Rushdie.

Asked how he was doing after the incident, Reese told the BBC: ‘I’m doing well, everything is proceeding – I’m doing quite well.

‘I think our concern is for Salman, and I mean that for himself, but also what he means in the world.’

Rosaria Calabrese, manager of the State of Fitness Boxing Club, a small, tightly knit gym in nearby North Bergen, said Matar joined April 11 and participated in about 27 group sessions for beginners looking to improve their fitness

Rosaria Calabrese, manager of the State of Fitness Boxing Club, a small, tightly knit gym in nearby North Bergen, said Matar joined April 11 and participated in about 27 group sessions for beginners looking to improve their fitness

Salman Rushdie (pictured in Los Angeles in 2013) has now been taken off a ventilator and can speak. There had been fears he would be left unable to talk after the attack last week

Salman Rushdie (pictured in Los Angeles in 2013) has now been taken off a ventilator and can speak. There had been fears he would be left unable to talk after the attack last week

Matar would not say if he was inspired by the fatwa that was issued against Rushdie in 1989. He arrived for an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, NY on Saturday

Matar would not say if he was inspired by the fatwa that was issued against Rushdie in 1989. He arrived for an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, NY on Saturday

Henry Reese, the moderator at Sir Salman Rushdie's lecture, has revealed his gruesome eye injury as he spoke publicly for the first time

Henry Reese, the moderator at Sir Salman Rushdie’s lecture, has revealed his gruesome eye injury as he spoke publicly for the first time

Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie spent years in hiding after being issued ‘spiritual’ death threat by Iran

Sir Salman Rushdie is a Booker Prize-winning author and novelist.

The 75-year-old was born in India, and his writing is often based around the themes of connections and migrations between Western and Eastern civilizations.

He won the Booker Prize in 1981 for his second novel, Midnight’s Children. His writing has spawned 30 book-length studies, and over 700 articles on his writing.

Rushdie’s writings have broadly been acclaimed to the genres of magical realism and historical fiction.

He has been living in the US since 2000, and he was named a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University in 2015.

He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, including for Midnight’s Children, in 1983 for Shame, in 1988 for The Satanic Versus, in 1995 for The Moor’s Last Sign, and in 2019 for Quichotte.

Rushdie, 75, is an Indian-born acclaimed author and novelist

Rushdie, 75, is an Indian-born acclaimed author and novelist

Reese said it would be his ‘ideal’ to one day return to Friday’s venue and continue the conversation with Sir Salman.

Matar’s distraught mother Silvan Fardos, 46, told the DailyMail.com that her son had come back from a month-long trip to the Middle East as a religious zealot.

Fardos said FBI agents seized a number of items from her son’s basement apartment – including a computer, PlayStation, books, knives and a tool to sharpen blades.

She added that she expected her son to come back from the 2018 trip ‘motivated,’ but instead, her once outgoing and popular son returned a ‘moody introvert’ and would lock himself in the basement, refusing to speak to his family for months.

He has no previous criminal history, but faces up to 32 years in prison if he is convicted of the attempted murder and assault charges.

Matar, whose now-deleted Facebook page is plastered with pics of Iranian politicians, rushed onto the stage Friday morning at a literary festival in upstate New York as Rushdie was announced.

He stabbed him multiple times, before being pinned to the ground by horrified witnesses and was apprehended by a state trooper.

Nathaniel Barone, a public defender who represents Matar, said that his client was ‘very cooperative’ with the investigation.

Matar reportedly had a fake drivers licence, cash, two Visa prepaid gift cards and no wallet on him at the time of his arrest.

The fake drivers licence was in the name of Hassan Mughniyah – names which are linked to infamous terrorist organization Hezbollah.

The group’s current leader is named Hassan Nasralla, an one of the group’s most notorious figures was Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in a CIA-linked assassination in Syria in 2008.

Since the 1980s, the IRGC have been linked to Hezbollah, offering training and funding to the primarily Lebanon-based terrorist organization. Hezbollah’s logo is based on the IRGC’s.

Matar was born in the United States to Lebanese parents, who emigrated from Yaroun, a border village in southern Lebanon, and was not even born when the fatwa was issued.

Rushdie was issued a fatwa – a death sentence – in 1989 by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini after his book, the Satanic Verses, sparked and outcry with Muslims in Britain.

Matar pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been remanded without bail after being moved from the New York State Police barracks in Jamestown after the attack on Friday

Matar pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been remanded without bail after being moved from the New York State Police barracks in Jamestown after the attack on Friday

New Jersey Police officers stand guard near the building where alleged attacker Hadi Matar, lives in Fairview, New Jersey

New Jersey Police officers stand guard near the building where alleged attacker Hadi Matar, lives in Fairview, New Jersey

The book supposedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed and The Koran, with Khomeini calling for Rushdie’s death, and also called for Muslims to point him out to those who could kill him if they could not themselves.

Authorities descended on the Fairview, New Jersey home of Matar hours after he allegedly attacked Rushdie onstage.

Rushdie has previously received death threats for his writing, with his book the Satanic Verses which supposedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed and The Koran.

He wrote the Satanic Verses, which resulted in a culture war being sparked in 1988 in Britain – with protests taking place in the UK along with book burnings.

Pakistan banned the book, and he was issued a fatwa – a death sentence – by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989.

Khomeini called for the death of Rushdie and his publishers, and also called for Muslims to point him out to those who could kill him if they could not themselves.

The fatwa, or ‘spiritual opinion’, followed a wave of book burnings in Britain and rioting across the Muslim world which led to the deaths of 60 people and hundreds being injured.

Rushdie was put under round-the-clock security from 1989 to 2002, at the expense of the British taxpayer, when a $3million bounty was put on his head.

He was forced to go into hiding for a decade with police protection, and previously said he received a ‘sort of Valentines card’ from Iran each year letting him know the country has not forgotten the vow to kill him.

Matar was born in the US to Lebanese parents who emigrated to California where he went to school. His mom divorced his father and moved to New Jersey for a fresh start

Matar was born in the US to Lebanese parents who emigrated to California where he went to school. His mom divorced his father and moved to New Jersey for a fresh start

Silvana Fardos, the mom of Matar, says her son took a trip to the Middle East - and came back a religious zealot

Silvana Fardos, the mom of Matar, says her son took a trip to the Middle East – and came back a religious zealot

The fake driver's license that was found on 24-year-old Hadi Mater bore the name Hassan Mughniyah. Both, the first and second names are linked to infamous terrorist organization Hezbollah

The fake driver’s license that was found on 24-year-old Hadi Mater bore the name Hassan Mughniyah. Both, the first and second names are linked to infamous terrorist organization Hezbollah

Gym owner Desmond Boyle said he saw 'nothing violent' about Matar, describing him as polite and quiet, yet someone who always looked 'tremendously sad'

Gym owner Desmond Boyle said he saw ‘nothing violent’ about Matar, describing him as polite and quiet, yet someone who always looked ‘tremendously sad’

In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.

Other’s linked to the book have been attacked over the years, with Hitoshi Igarashi, who translated The Satanic Verses into Japanese, being stabbed to death on the campus where he taught literature.

Ettore Capriolo, the Italian translator of the book, was knifed in his apartment in Milan.

The novel’s Norwegian publisher William Nygaard, was shot three times outside his home and left for dead in October 1993, but survived the attack.

Rushdie previously wrote a 655-page fatwa memoir, which was nominated for the UK’s top non- fiction award, the Samuel Johnson prize.

During the fatwa he lived in permanent terror and at one point thought his ex-wife Clarissa Luard and their son Zafar, who was nine at the time, had been killed by assassins or kidnapped.

In 1998 Iran’s reformist president relaxed the fatwa and said it had no intention of tracking Rushdie down and killing him.

The Index on Censorship, an organization promoting free expression, said money was raised to boost the reward for his killing as recently as 2016, underscoring that the fatwa for his death still stands.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk