Amid Western condemnation, conservative Iranian outlets called the author “Satan” and an “apostate” Law enforcement stand watch outside at the Chautauqua Institution after author Salman Rushdie was attacked in Chautauqua, US, on August 12, 2022. © AP / Joshua Goodman
Western authors and officials have strongly condemned the attack on the Indian-born British-American novelist Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed in New York state on Friday. Iranian media and officials, however, reacted by recalling the reasons that prompted the Islamic Republic’s former leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, to issue a religious edict calling for his death back in 1989.
French President Emmanuel blasted the author’s stabbing as a “cowardly attack by the forces of hatred and barbarism,” adding that the “fight against obscurantism” that Rushdie was engaged in is “universal.”
Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled” by the incident, adding that the author of ‘Satanic Verses’ was “exercising a right we should never cease to defend.” The White House national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, also called the attack on Rushdie “appalling” while thanking the first responders for “helping him so swiftly.”
The 75-year-old, who remains in serious condition in a hospital following the attack, also received words of support from a number of prominent writers. JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, called the news about the attack “horrifying,” while Stephen King expressed his hope that Rushdie is “ok” while blasting his assailant in harsh terms.
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Booker-prize winning author Ian McEwan called the attack “an assault on freedom of thought and speech.” Another winner of the Booker prize, Arundhati Roy, said the assault on Rushdie was “really destabilizing for a lot of us.” Suzanne Nossel, the head of PEN America, an organization that defends freedom of expression for writers, also condemned what she called the “brutal premediated” assault on Rushdie. “We hope and believe fervently that his essential voice cannot and will not be silenced,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Iranian media has also closely followed the developments around the attack. Some of the seemingly more hardline outlets even wrote about it in positive terms. The Asr Iran outlet cited Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei as saying that the “arrow” shot by his predecessor “will one day hit the target.” The news outlet detailed the circumstances of the death sentence issued in Iran against Rushdie in a lengthy piece that portrayed the publication of the novelist’s book, ‘The Satanic Verses’, as part of the Western campaign against Islam and Iran in particular.
The newspaper Kayhan published a piece in which it described Rushdie’s attacker as a brave person while branding the author himself “an apostate.” Another Iranian newspaper, the Khorasan daily, published a story titled: “Satan on the way to hell.” (RT)
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