The attacker who stabbed British author Salman Rushdie multiple times at a New York event on Friday says he was surprised to hear that Rushdie survived.
“When I heard he survived, I was surprised, I guess,” says 24-year-old Hadi Matar in a video interview with the New York Post from jail.
Citing a warning from his lawyer, Matar would not say if he was inspired by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989 over the author’s book “The Satanic Verses.”
“I respect the ayatollah. I think he’s a great person. That’s as far as I will say about that,” Matar says.
“I don’t like the person. I don’t think he’s a very good person,” he said about Rushdie. “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,” Matar says, adding that he only read several pages of Rushdie’s works.