Who is Hadi Matar? Salman Rushdie's Attacker Had Sympathies for Shia Extremism, Reports Reveal

Salman Rushdie, whose novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from Iran’s leader in the 1980s, was stabbed in the neck and abdomen Friday by a man, Hadi Matar, who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York.

Police identified the attacker as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey. He was arrested at the scene and was awaiting arraignment. Matar was born a decade after “The Satanic Verses” was published. The motive for the attack was unclear, State police Maj. Eugene Staniszewski said. But according to reports, Matar may have had Iranian sympathies.

Here is all that is known about him:

1) According to a report by NBC News, sources familiar with the investigation said the suspect was born in California but recently relocated to New Jersey. His last known address was in Fairview, a borough of Bergen County just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. On Friday evening, FBI agents were seen entering Matar’s home.

2) The report quoted sources as saying that Matar also had a forged New Jersey driver’s licence on him.

3) Maj. Eugene Staniszewski of the State Police said the motive for the stabbing was unknown. According to a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation, a preliminary review of Matar’s social media accounts revealed that he is sympathetic to Shia extremism and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps causes, the NBC report stated. There are no definitive links to the IRGC, but the official believes his initial assessment indicates he is sympathetic to the Iranian government group.

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4) Spectator Kathleen Jones described the attacker as wearing all black and wearing a black mask. We thought it was a stunt to show that there is still a lot of controversy surrounding this author.  But it was clear in a matter of second that it wasn’t, she said.

5) Matar was arrested by a New York State Trooper after Rushdie was pushed or fell to the floor, and he was awaiting arraignment. It was unclear what charges he would face in connection with the attack on the author, whose novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from Iran’s leader in the 1980s.

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