Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

As it happenedended1660569727

Salman Rushdie - live: Iran condemned for ‘sickening’ statement blaming author for attack

Author, 75, was target of ‘fatwa’ by Iranian religious leaders over 1988 book The Satanic Verses

Matt Mathers
Monday 15 August 2022 14:22 BST
Author Salman Rushdie attacked on stage in New York

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


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


Contender be next UK prime minister sends best wishes

Rishi Sunak, who is a contender to become the UK’s next prime minister, has sent his best wishes to Salman Rushdie, who he described as a “champion of free speech”.

“He’s in our thoughts tonight,” Mr Sunak said.

Mr Sunak, the UK’s former chancellor, is in a head-to-head race with the foreign secretary Lizz Truss, to become leader of the governing Conservative Party and therefore the prime minister.

Matt Mathers13 August 2022 07:50

‘We hope and pray'

Shekar Gupta, founder of The Print, says he is praying for Mr Rushie and criticised India for becoming the first country to ban the author’s book.

“While we hope and pray for Salman Rushdie, we must never forget that India was the first to ban the book. It was a Congress govt with around 415 seats in Lok Sabha…

So who planted the seeds of destruction of our secular polity...”

Matt Mathers13 August 2022 08:06

Piers Morgan condemns ‘horrific’ attack

Piers Morgan has condemned the “horrific” attack on Salman Rushdie.

The presenter said Rushie had been stabbed for exercising his “right to free speech”.

According to his agent, Mr Rushue could lose an eye after he was stabbed on stage in New York.

He remains in hospital.

Matt Mathers13 August 2022 08:22

Hadi Matar arrested for stabbing Salman Rushdie in neck in horror New York attack

New York State Police have named a 24-year-old man as the suspect in the stabbing of Salman Rushdie at a literary event in western New York state on Friday.

Hadi Matar, of New Jersey, was taken into custody on Friday morning after allegedly storming the stage and stabbing the author at least once in the neck and abdomen at the Chautauqua Institution, New York State Trooper James O’Callaghan told a press conference on Friday afternoon.

Several members of the staff rushed the suspect and took him to the ground before a state trooper and Chappaqua County Sheriff’s deputy took him into custody, Mr O’Callaghan said.

Hadi Matar arrested for stabbing Salman Rushdie in neck in horror New York attack

Salman Rushdie spent years in hiding after a ‘fatwa’ was issued by the Iranian supreme leader in 1988

Bevan Hurley13 August 2022 08:30

'We can share his words’

Former Labour deputy leader and MP Tom Watson has been reflecting on the attack on Mr Rushdie, asking what society can do to show “solidarity” with the author.

“We can subscribe to his words,” he says. “We can share his words in our writing.”

Mr Watson is a former UK secretary of state for culture, who represented West Bromwich until stepping down and leaving politics in 2019.

Matt Mathers13 August 2022 08:37

Famous Rushdie line shared after attack

A famous quote by Mr Rushdie is being shared on Twitter after he was attacked in New York.

“From the beginning, men used God to justify the unjustifiable,” it says.

The quote is from his book, The Satanic Verses, a novel inspired by the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

He received death threats after the book was published in 1988 and the government of Iran ordered his killing.

Matt Mathers13 August 2022 08:51

Suspect was carrying ‘fake driving licence using name of Hizbollah leader'

The man arrested over the stabbing of Mr Rushdie was carrying a fake driving licence using the name of a Hizbollah leader allied to killed Iranian general Qassim Soleimani, according to a report.

Fox News and other US news outlets said the suspected attacker, who has been named as Hadi Matar was using the fake name Hassan Mughnaiyah.

Mughniyah is the family name of Imad Mughniyah, the second-in-command of Lebanese Shia militant movement Hizbollah who was killed by the CIA in 2008 in Syria.

Matt Mathers13 August 2022 08:58

‘I’m happy'

One man living in Tehran, lran’s capital, said he was “happy” that the author was attacked.

“I don’t know Salman Rushdie, but I am happy to hear that he was attacked since he insulted Islam,” Reza Amiri, a 27-year-old deliveryman, said.

“This is the fate for anybody who insults sanctities.”

Matt Mathers13 August 2022 09:18

‘Those who did it are trying to isolate Iran'

Others, however, worried aloud that Iran could become even more cut off from the world as tensions remain high over its tattered nuclear deal.

“I feel those who did it are trying to isolate Iran,” said Mahshid Barati, a 39-year-old geography teacher.

“This will negatively affect relations with many — even Russia and China.”

Matt Mathers13 August 2022 09:29

Why did Iran issue a fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989?

On 14 February, 1989, Irananian religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling on “all brave Muslims” to kill Salman Rushdie and those who helped translate and sell the book to the masses.

Mr Rushdie went into hiding for nearly a decade, living under the protection of Scotland Yard and changing locations frequently.

In addition to numerous death threats against the author himself, those who helped create and market the work were also targeted.

In 1991, the novel’s Japanese translator was stabbed to death, and two years later the book’s Norwegian publisher was injured in a shooting.

Josh Marcus has more.

What is a fatwa and why did Iran issue one against Salman Rushdie in 1989?

Clergy took issue with novelist’s depiction of Islam and Prophet Muhammad

Bevan Hurley13 August 2022 09:30

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in