I spent much of the weekend thinking about Salman Rushdie. By now, you know the author was attacked and stabbed multiple times while preparing to make a speech in western New York.
When I first heard about it on Friday, my first thought was… they finally got him. For its part though, Iran has denied any involvement in the attack.
The Washington Post reports that Iran says Rushdie and his supporters are to blame for the attack. A spokesman for Iran said, “We do not blame, or recognize worthy of condemnation, anyone except himself and his supporters.”
As I write this, I have to say that we still don’t know the suspect’s motivation. Hadi Matar has pleaded not guilty and isn’t talking. He’s been charged with attempted murder and assault.
Investigators say Matar had strong indicators of ideological support for the Iranian regime. ABC News reports that Matar had an advance pass for the event. He arrived a day early. He was carrying a fake driver’s license.
Salman Rushdie has spent much of his life expecting to be killed. His book, “Satanic Verses,” is considered blasphemous in the Muslim community. So much so, that the Ayatollah Kohmeini put out a fatwa, or edict, to have him killed.
That was in 1989. Over thirty years! Can you imagine living like that?
If you are of an age, then you remember what a big deal that book was when it was first published. It was banned in several countries.
Salman Rushdie went into hiding. Stayed there for years. More recently, he has been out more.
We now know that Salmon Rushdie was stabbed ten times. He has been removed from a ventilator and is improving.
His agent, Andrew Wylie, told the New York Times that Rushdie’s “road to recovery has begun.” But… he says, “It will be long. The injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction.”
Liver damage. Nerve damage. He may lose an eye.
It got me wondering, was it worth it? Writing something so enraging that it caused a world leader to issue a death sentence. One that seemed to be unending.
The Ayatollah Komeni died in 1989. That’s the same year he issued the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. That fatwa remains in effect.
Again, I want to stress that we don’t know if this suspect was actually intending to kill Salman Rushdie over “Satanic Verses.” We may never have that answer.
Wishing Salman Rushdie well and a speedy recovery brings some problems. Authorities in the United Kingdom are investigating an online threat against the author J.K. Rowling.
Rowling offered support on social media to Salman Rushdie. “Horrifying news. Feeling very sick right now. Let him be OK.”
A response to Rowling’s tweet went like this: “Don’t worry you are next.”
I think my biggest takeaway from all this is that anger over religion can last a long time. Salman Rushdie is a perfect example. One book. Years of anger.