The mother of the man accused of jumping on stage to attack author Salman Rushdie condemned her son on Sunday, saying he was responsible for his own actions and that his family would carry on “without him”.
Silvana Fardos was born a Muslim in Lebanon and has lived in the US for more than 25 years, she told the Daily Mail. She had never heard of Salman Rushdie before getting a frantic phone call from her daughter on Friday, she said.
“I’ve never read any of his books,” the 46-year-old told the newspaper. “I didn’t know such a writer even existed. I had no idea my son had ever read his book.”
Fardos said she was “shocked” by the news that her son, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, had been arrested after allegedly storming the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and stabbing Rushdie in the stomach and neck before being overpowered .
Rushdie, a 75-year-old British-Indian writer, has lived with a target on his back since he published in 1988 The Satanic Verses. The book outraged some Muslims, who resented the way Rushdie fictionalized aspects of Prophet Muhammad’s life.
Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who was to die a year later, called on all Muslims – also known as a fatwa – to kill the author. After years in hiding and under a false identity, Rushdie relocated to New York and began appearing in public more frequently, increasingly with no security detail.
Immediately after Friday’s attack, Rushdie was taken to a hospital where he was put on a ventilator. (His condition has since improved significantly, according to people close to him.) Matar has been charged with attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault. He has pleaded not guilty.
“I just can’t believe he was capable of something like that,” said Fardos, who works as a teacher and translator. “He was very calm, everyone loved him. Like I told the FBI, I won’t be talking to him again. He is responsible for his actions.”
Fardos noted that her son returned from a month-long trip to Lebanon in 2018 a changed person. When he was sent to live with his father, from whom Fardos divorced in 2004, he was unhappy. She thought he would return home motivated — “to finish school, graduate and get a job.”
“But instead,” Fardos said, “he locked himself in the basement.” There, she said, he lived a nocturnal and isolated existence, cooking his own meals and hardly speaking to his mother or siblings. Although she said she had no idea what her son was doing down there, she felt his religious beliefs were becoming more radical.
“He once argued with me and asked why I encouraged him to pursue an education instead of focusing on religion,” said Fardos, who said she was not very political or religious. “He was angry that I didn’t introduce him to Islam at a young age.”
In recent months, however, Matar appeared to be trying to come back to life, she said. He’d started working at a marshalls and talked about going back to school to study cybersecurity, Fardos recalled. She was delighted.
Then FBI agents showed up at her home in Fairview, New Jersey. Now, she said, she wants to focus on her two younger children. “They’re upset, they’re shocked,” Fardos said Post. “All we can do is try to move on without him.”
Earlier Sunday, Rushdie’s son shared a statement on his father’s condition. “Though his life-altering injuries are severe, his usual buoyant and defiant sense of humor remains intact,” wrote Zafar Rushdie.
Rushdie’s agent told it The guard on Sunday that although the 75-year-old had been taken off a ventilator “was going in the right direction”, his injuries – 10 stab wounds to his neck, stomach, eye, chest and thigh – were “severe”. The road to recovery, the agent added, “is going to be long.”
In a statement on Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken struck a sharper tone than President Joe Biden’s comments the day before, which made no mention of Iranian policies or the fatwa on Rushdie’s head.
Blinken not only called the attack “abhorrent” and its celebration by state-backed Iranian media “abhorrent,” but directly accused the “malicious” Iranian state of inciting violence against Rushdie “for generations.”
“The United States and its partners will not waver in their resolve to confront these threats, using every appropriate means at our disposal,” Blinken said.
Separately, UK authorities announced the launch of an investigation into an online threat targeted at author JK Rowling, who had expressed disgust and sadness at news of Rushdie’s attack.
“Terrible news,” she posted on Twitter. “I’m feeling very ill right now. Let him be okay.”
In her replies, a user with the username @MeerAsifAziz1 wrote, “Don’t worry, you’re next.”
Until Sunday evening The New York Times reported, the tweet was deleted and @MeerAsifAziz1’s account was suspended.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/salman-rushdie-stabbing-suspect-hadi-matars-mom-says-shell-never-speak-to-him-again?source=articles&via=rss Salman Rushdie’s mother, who stabbed suspect Hadi Matar, says she will never speak to him again