Salman Rushdie’s stabber’s mother, Hadi Matar, says she will no longer speak to her son

The mother of the New Jersey man accused of stabbing Salman Rushdie says her son was a loner in the basement who hardly worked, never had a girlfriend – and after visiting the Middle East “changed ” have.

Silvana Fardos, the mother of suspect Hadi Matar, 24, added to the Daily Mail on Sunday that she is in disgrace for her son over his alleged crime and hopes Rushdie recovers.

“Mr. I’m sorry for Rushdie,” Fardos said.

As for her son, the mother added, “As I told the FBI, I won’t bother speaking to him again.

“He is responsible for his actions,” she said.

The mother said she was born Muslim but not religious. She said she didn’t even hear from Rushdie until the famous author of “Satanic Verses” was attacked in western New York and the FBI began contacting her family.

Her son is accused of hounding Rushdie when the writer was about to give a lecture and stabbing him in the neck and abdomen. The author remained in critical condition on Sunday but is expected to recover, although he may lose an eye.

Hadi Matar
Hadi Matar attacked Salman Rushdie, stabbing him in the neck and abdomen.
AP/Gen J. Puskar
Hadi Matar
Hadi Matar changed after a trip to Lebanon, his mother said.
Getty Images

Sources have told The Post that Matar’s motive appears to be religious. In 1989, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie after claims that “Satanic verses” had mocked the religion.

“I haven’t pushed religion on my kids or forced anything on my son,” Fardos told the Mail. “I don’t know anyone in Iran, my whole family is here. I live a simple life as a single mom trying to keep a roof over my head and food on the table for my kids.”

But Fardos, who also has 14-year-old twins, said her eldest child had become more religious as she got older.

She noted her son’s behavior had changed in 2018, particularly after he returned from a trip to Lebanon, her home country, where he was visiting his father.

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is expected to recover but could potentially lose his eye.
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

“I expected him to come back motivated, finish school, graduate and get a job. But instead he locked himself in the basement,” said the mother. “He had changed a lot, he hadn’t said anything to me or his sisters for months.

“I can’t tell you much about his life after that because he has been isolating me since 2018. When I speak to him, sometimes he says hello, sometimes he just ignores me and walks away.

“He once argued with me and asked why I had encouraged him to pursue an education instead of focusing on religion. He was angry that I didn’t introduce him to Islam at a young age,” she said.

Salman Rushdie
Matar stabbed the author just as he was about to give a lecture.
AP/Joshua Goodman

Matar often slept all day and spent his nights at the computer in the basement of their home, which his mother didn’t allow him to enter, Fardos said.

She said he had never worked a few months ago when he got a job at Marshalls, although it’s unclear if he was employed there at the time of the attack.

“To tell you the truth, I’ve never heard of this author before,” Fardos said of Rushdie. “I’ve never read any of his books, I didn’t know such an author even existed. I am not aware that my son has ever read his book.”

Matar has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault in connection with the shocking public attack on the Chautauqua Institute, a nonprofit educational and retreat center.

People gather for a vigil for author Salman Rushdie after he was attacked on Friday 12th August 2022
People gather after the attack on August 12, 2022 for a vigil for the author.
AP/Joshua Goodman

“I am not in a position to comment on any other matter or discussion I had with Mr. Matar as it involves confidential and privileged information,” his attorney Nathaniel Barone said in a statement to The Post. “We look forward to the scheduled preliminary hearing on August 19, 2022 and the opportunity to aggressively exercise Mr. Matar’s constitutional rights.”

Matar is currently being held in prison without bail.

Despite his troubles, his mother claimed, “everyone loved” her son.

“I just can’t believe he was capable of doing something like that,” said the mother, who declined to return calls from The Post for comment.

She said she hopes Rushdie recovers.

“But I can’t say or do much because it wasn’t my act,” she added. Salman Rushdie’s stabber’s mother, Hadi Matar, says she will no longer speak to her son


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