Iranian ultra-conservative newspaper Kayhan on Saturday hailed the assailant who attacked British author Salman Rushdie – the target of a 1989 Iranian fatwa calling for his death.
Rushdie was on a ventilator after he was stabbed during a literary event in New York state on Friday, more than 30 years after he went into hiding following former supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s fatwa.
“Bravo to this courageous and duty-conscious man who attacked the apostate and depraved Salman Rushdie in New York,” wrote the paper, whose chief is appointed by current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“Let us kiss the hands of the one who tore the neck of the enemy of God with a knife,” the daily added.
With the exception of reformist publications including Etemad, the majority of Iranian media followed a similar line, describing Rushdie as an “apostate”.
Iranian authorities have yet to make any official comment on the stabbing attack against Rushdie.
Rushdie, 75, was propelled into the spotlight with his second novel “Midnight’s Children” in 1981, which won international praise and Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize for its portrayal of post-independence India.
But his 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” transformed his life when Khomeini issued a religious decree ordering his killing.
In 1998, the government of Iran’s reformist president Mohammad Khatami assured Britain that Iran would not implement the fatwa.