There is praise and worry in Iran after the death of Rushdie; the government is quiet after the incident
As a result of Saturday’s attack on Salman Rushdie, who was the target of the decades-old fatwa issued by the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini urging his murder, Iranians expressed praise and worry.
The motive for Rushdie’s stabbing, which was carried out by the author’s attacker, Hadi Mattar, of Fairview, New Jersey, as he prepared to speak at an event in western New York on Friday, remains unclear to police.
There have been no motives assigned to the attack by either Iran’s theocratic government or its state-run media.
However, some Tehran residents who were willing to speak to The Associated Press about what they saw as an attack against a writer they believe tarnished the Islamic faith with his 1988 book, The Satanic Verses, has praised the attack.
It is still common to see images of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini peering down at passersby in the streets of Iran’s capital.
There is praise and worry in Iran after the death of Salman Rushdie; the government is quiet after the incident
As a 27-year-old deliveryman, Reza Amiri said, “I don’t know Salman Rushdie, but I am glad to hear that he was attacked because he insulted Islam,” he said. In my opinion, this is the fate of anyone who insults the sanctity of life.”
As tensions remain high over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal, there have been some who have expressed concern aloud that the country could become even more isolated from the world.
The 39-year-old geography teacher, Mahshid Barati, said he feels that those who did it are trying to isolate Iran as a whole by doing it.
It is likely to negatively affect relations with a number of countries, including Russia and China.
When Khomeini issued the fatwa against Rushdie in 1989, he was in poor health at the time after the grinding, stalemate Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s decimated the country’s economy and was in the last year of his life.
The Islamic edict was issued at a time when there was a violent uproar in the Muslim world over the novel, which some saw as making blasphemous suggestions about the Prophet Muhammad’s life in the novel.
In order to inform all intrepid Muslims all over the world, I would like to inform you that the author of the book entitled ‘Satanic Verses’ as well as those publishers who are aware of the contents of the book have been sentenced to death,” Khomeini said in February 1989, according to Tehran Radio.
Adding to this, he said: “Any person who is killed doing this will be regarded as a martyr, and they will go directly to heaven.”
On Saturday, Iranian state media made the point of mentioning that one man had been killed while attempting to carry out the fatwa.
His name was Mustafa Mahmoud Mazeh, a Lebanese national who had died when a book bomb he had managed to plant prematurely exploded in a London hotel on Aug. 3, 1989, just over 33 years ago.
There was no shortage of headlines on the front page Saturday offering their own take on what had happened.
In the hardline newspaper Vatan-e Emrouz, the main story was titled: “A knife in Salman Rushdie’s neck.” The reformist newspaper Etemad’s headline was as follows: “Salman Rushdie in the neighborhood of death?”
At the start of the week, however, the 15th Khordad Foundation, which placed the over $3 million bounty on Rushdie, remained quiet.
Employees of the foundation declined to immediately comment for the AP, referring questions to an official who was not in the office.
In addition to providing aid to the disabled and other individuals affected by war, the foundation is referred to as the Khomeini Foundation, which was founded in 1963 as a result of protests by Khomeini’s supporters against the former shah.
In spite of this, this foundation, like many other foundations, known as bonyads in Iran, funded by confiscated assets from the shah’s time, is often used to serve the political interests of hardliners in the country.
It has been argued that reformists in Iran, those who want to gradually liberalize the country’s Shiite theocracy from the inside so that there can be better relations with the West, are trying to distance the government from the edict.
In 1998, Mohammad Khatami’s foreign minister stated that the “government disassociates itself from any reward which has been offered in this regard and does not support it.”
Towards the end of that decade, Rushdie gradually began to re-emerge into public life. However, some Iranians have never forgotten the fatwa that was issued against him.
As a result of seeing Rushdie attacked on Saturday, Mohammad Mahdi Movaghar, a 34-year-old Tehran resident, described having a “good feeling” after seeing Rushdie shot.
As a result, it is pleasing and shows that those who disrespect the sacred things of Muslims not only get punished in the hereafter but they also get punished in this world at the hands of their fellow Muslims,” he said.
Some people, however, are concerned that the attack – regardless of the reasons behind it – could hurt Iran’s chances of negotiating a nuclear deal with the world powers in the future.
Tehran has seen its rial currency plummet since then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the agreement in 2018, resulting in the collapse of its economy and the collapse of its currency.
Tehran enriches uranium now closer than ever to weapons-grade levels amid a series of attacks across the Middle East at the same time.
The former Iranian diplomat Mashallah Sefatzadeh warned, “Iran will become more isolated as a result of this.”.
It is true that fatwas can be revised or revoked, but the current Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who took over after the late Ayatollah Khomeini, has never done so.
In 1989, Khamenei said that the decision made about Salman Rushdie was still valid today.
As I have already mentioned, this is a bullet for which there is a target. It has already been shot. It will, sooner or later, strike that target one day.”
As recently as February 2017, Khamenei responded to this question posed to him in an acerbic manner: “Is the fatwa on the apostasy of the cursed liar Salman Rushdie still in effect? What is the Muslim’s duty in this regard?”