The mother of Hadi Matar, the attacker of British novelist Salman Rushdie, has revealed that her son’s trip to Lebanon in 2018 during which he met his estranged father changed him, making him more devout and less extroverted.
New Delhi: The mother of Hadi Matar, the attacker of British novelist Salman Rushdie, has revealed that her son’s trip to Lebanon in 2018 during which he met his estranged father changed him, making him more devout and less extroverted.
Silvana Fardos, a Lebanese-born woman from Fairview in New Jersey, said her 24-year-old son was “a moody introvert” who had become increasingly hooked to Islam.
Matar’s parents got divorced in 2004, with Fardos relocating to New Jersey and his father Hassan Matar returning to Lebanon in the Middle East, according to the Daily Mail.
Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses drew death threats from Iran’s leader in the 1980s, was stabbed in the neck and abdomen Friday by a man who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York.
A bloodied Rushdie, 75, was flown to a hospital and underwent surgery. His agent, Andrew Wylie, said the writer was on a ventilator Friday evening, with a damaged liver, severed nerves in his arm and an eye he was likely to lose.
Police later identified the attacker as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey. He was arrested at the scene and was awaiting arraignment. Matar was born a decade after The Satanic Verses was published.
Fardos said that her son argued with her that why he was encouraged to get an education instead of focusing on religion.
“He was angry that I did not introduce him to Islam from a young age,” the Daily Mail quoted her saying.
Matar’s mother claimed she was “shell shocked” when one of her twin daughters, age 14, called to inform her that the FBI had arrived at the family’s home and that her son was supposedly to blame.
“I just cannot believe he was capable of doing something like this. He was very quiet, everyone loved him,” the report quoted her as saying.
In addition to knives and sharpeners, Fardos claimed that federal authorities had taken Matar’s computer, his PlayStation, books, and other belongings.
“I was expecting him to come back motivated, to complete school, to get his degree and a job, but instead he locked himself in the basement,” she said.
“I couldn’t tell you much about his life after that because he has isolated me since 2018,” and also said little to the rest of his family for months.
“He sleeps during the day and wakes and eats during the night,” she said.
Fardos, a teaching assistant and translator, claimed that although being born a Muslim, she is not religious and has no interest in politics. She also claimed that Rushdie was unknown to her.
“I had no knowledge that my son ever read his book,” she said.
With inputs from agencies
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