A preliminary law enforcement review of Matar’s social media accounts shows he is sympathetic to Shia extremism and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps causes, a law enforcement person with direct knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.
Rushdie went into hiding for several years after the fatwa was issued against him and Iran’s government officially maintained it after the Ayatollah’s death until 1998. The writer later resumed his public appearances, wrote about his fatwa in his 2012 memoir Joseph Anton and even poked fun at it with Larry David on season nine of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2017.
However, the fatwa against Rushdie has remained in place, with a bounty attached from a semiofficial Iranian religious foundation, The New York Times reported. On Aug. 13, several hardline Iranian newspapers praised Rushdie’s attacker, Reuters said.
In addition to Rushdie, event moderator Ralph Henry Reese, co-founder of the Pittsburgh nonprofit City of Asylum, was also wounded in the attack. The 73-year-old suffered a minor head injury, police said.
“Salman Rushdie is one of the great authors of our time and one of the great defenders of freedom of speech and freedom of creative expression,” he said in a statement released on Twitter by PEN America, a press freedom group of which he serves on an advisory committee. “We revere him and our paramount concern is for his life.”
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(Originally published on Aug. 13 at 12:05 p.m. PT)