Iranian newspapers have celebrated the attack on Salman Rushdie with the Kayhan newspaper—whose editor-in-chief is appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei—sending his assailant “a thousand bravos.”
Rushdie, who has been the subject of a fatwa by Iran since 1989 following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses, is on a ventilator and at risk of losing an eye after he was stabbed at a literary event in western New York.
Iran’s government is yet to comment on the attack but several of its newspapers have applauded the suspect, who police have identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar from Fairview, New Jersey.
“A thousand bravos... to the brave and dutiful person who attacked the apostate and evil Salman Rushdie in New York,” the Kayhan newspaper stated. “The hand of the man who tore the neck of God's enemy must be kissed.”
The Khorasan daily ran with a headline that said “Satan on the path to hell.”
The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued the fatwa, or religious edict, on the British-Indian author, calling The Satanic Verses blasphemous and forcing him into hiding for years. The 15th Khordad Foundation offering a $2.7 million reward to anyone who carried out Khomeini‘s fatwa and then increasing it to $3.3 million in 2012.
The Asr Iran news site was another that looked on Rushdie’s attack favorably, using an often cited quote by Khamenei that said the “arrow” shot by the former leader “will one day hit the target.”
Police have yet to establish a motive for the attack.