Rushdie Knifeman carried fake ID in name of Hezbollah leader: report

The alleged attacker satanic verses Salman Rushdie author Hadi Matar reportedly expressed sympathy for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards and carried a fake driver’s license bearing the name of a Hezbollah leader linked to slain Iranian general Qassim Soleimani.

Hadi Matar, 24, is currently believed to have moved to Bergen, New Jersey, just across the river from Manhattan from California.

Following the stabbing of Indian-born author Salman Rushdie, who has British and American citizenship, at a Friday conference in Chautauqua, New York, Matar was arrested by the authorities and had his New Jersey home searched by the FBI.

The alleged assailant is believed to be carrying a fake New Jersey driver’s license bearing the name “Hassan Mughnaiyah”, which is noteworthy as the last name is the same as that of Imad Mughniyah, who was the second oldest member. senior member of the Shia Islamist paramilitary organization Hezbollah before being assassinated by the CIA in Syria in 2008, The Telegraph reports.

Mughnaiyah was also a close ally of former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Qassim Soleimani, who was killed in a targeted drone strike at the behest of President Donald Trump in Iraq in 2020.

According to local NBC New York affiliate 4, an official familiar with the investigation revealed that an analysis of Hadi Matar’s social media accounts by law enforcement indicated sympathy for radical Shia movements, including the IRGC, but, to date, there have been no real links established between the alleged attacker and any extremist groups.

His Facebook account, which has since been deleted, also reportedly featured photos celebrating Iran’s late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, who was the first to post the fatwa (death sentence) against Salman Rushdie in 1989 for the allegedly blasphemous nature of satanic verses.

His successor, Ayatollah Khamenei, maintained the fatwa.

Footage of the attack on Rushdie showed members of the public rushing onto the stage to come to the perpetrator’s aid and stop the knife:

satanic verses drew the ire of many Muslims, who viewed the work as blasphemous of a character in the text who was said to be a mockery of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Except fatwa against Rushdie himself, the attackers also targeted translators of the book, including a Japanese assistant professor who was stabbed to death in Tokyo in 1991 and an Italian translator who survived a stab wound at his home in Milan . A Norwegian publisher of the book was also shot three times in 1993, but he also survived.

The publication of satanic verses also sparked riots across the Muslim world that claimed the lives of at least 45 people.

The Ayatollah’s call for his death saw Rushdie hiding in Britain, where he now holds citizenship, but nine years later emerged and began to engage with the public more often – well than usually with a personal guard for his protection.

Commenting after the attack in New York, where he has lived for many years, the 75-year-old author’s agent, Andrew Wylie, said Rushdie has since been placed on a ventilator and is unable to speak.

“Salman will probably lose an eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” the officer added.

In a report covering the stabbing, Iranian state media Islamic Republic News Agency condemned Rushdie as an “apostate author” who published a “blasphemous novel about Islam”.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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