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Man Accused of Stabbing Salman Rushdie Had No Criminal History

Hadi Matar, the man accused of stabbing novelist Salman Rushdie, had no prior criminal history, and authorities have yet to determine a motive for the attack against the man targeted by Iran’s leader more than 30 years ago, reports the Wall Street Journal. Rushdie sustained three stab wounds to his neck and four stab wounds in the stomach before a planned lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in southwestern New York on Friday, said Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt. Rushdie also had a puncture wound in his right eye and two in his chest. Matar, 24, of Fairview, N.J., was charged with second-degree attempted murder. He is being held without bail at the Chautauqua County Jail.

Some people who know Matar and his family said they were surprised to learn about the attack. Rushdie spent years under police protection after Iranian leaders called for his execution over his 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses. Some Muslims called it blasphemous. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s 1979 revolution, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, in 1989 that called on Muslims to kill Rushdie. Authorities haven’t reached a conclusion on a potential link between the New York attack and the fatwa against Rushdie, 75, who remains in critical condition but is talking and showing signs of improvement, his family said. Sunday. The suspect is believed to have traveled to Buffalo from northern New Jersey on a bus the day before the attack, then hailed a ride-share vehicle to bring him to Chautauqua. Matar was born in the U.S. to parents who emigrated from Yaroun in southern Lebanon. Mohamed Matar, who described himself as a distant cousin of Matar, said he was a “super quiet kid.”

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