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Days after the onstage attack on Salman Rushdie in New York, Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old attacker from New Jersey, said he was surprised that Rushdie survived. When he heard that Rushdie survived, he was surprised, the attacker told the New York Post.

Speaking to the New York Post from jail, Hadi Matar said he decided to see Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution after he saw a tweet last winter about the writer’s planned appearance.

Rushdi is not a very good person. He’s someone who attacked Islam. He attacked their beliefs, the belief systems, Matar told the newspaper. He also told that he had read a couple of pages of Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.

He had learned that Rushdie would speak at the Chautauqua Institution’s literary series via a tweet earlier this year. Then he had taken a bus to Buffalo one day prior to the attack, before taking a Lyft to Chautauqua, Rushdie’s attacker said.

The suspected assailant, who has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges, said he considered late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini a great person but wouldn’t say whether he was following a fatwa, or edict, issued by Khomeini in Iran in 1989 that called for Rushdie’s death after the author published The Satanic Verses.

Speaking about his planning before attacking Rushdie, he was hanging around pretty much. Not doing anything in particular, just walking around, Matar told the newspaper.

Last Friday, Rushdie was attacked by 24-year-old man moments before his speech in summertime lecture series at Chautauqua Institution in western New York. The attack was happened around 11 am local time (8.30 pm IST) as Rushdie was being introduced before he was to speak.

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