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N.Y. grand jury indicts Hadi Matar for knife attack on author Salman Rushdie

Police say that suspect Hadi Matar attacked author Salman Rushdie with a knife in western New York a week ago as he prepared to speak at the Chautauqua Institution. Rushdie was seriously hurt, but is recovering. File Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/8e513ded1c8107291bd875ca9bb185af/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Police say that suspect Hadi Matar attacked author Salman Rushdie with a knife in western New York a week ago as he prepared to speak at the Chautauqua Institution. Rushdie was seriously hurt, but is recovering. File Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The man accused of attacking Salman Rushdie with a knife at an event in New York last week has been indicted by a grand jury and will face criminal charges in court on Thursday.

Prosecutors announced the indictment and said suspect Hadi Matar will appear Thursday afternoon in Chautauqua County Court.

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Police say that Matar attacked Rushdie with a knife in western New York a week ago as he prepared to speak at the Chautauqua Institution. The 75-year-old Rushdie was seriously hurt, but is recovering at a hospital in Pennsylvania.

Matar told the New York Post in an interview from jail on Wednesday that he's surprised the renowned British-American novelist is still alive.

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"When I heard he survived, I was surprised, I guess," the Fairview, N.J., man told the Post.

Matar was asked if he was inspired by former Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini when he called for Rushdie's death for the author's 1989 book The Satanic Verses -- which Khomeini considered blasphemous. Iran offered a $3 million bounty on Rushdie's head at the time.

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"I respect the ayatollah," he said. "I think he's a great person. That's as far as I will say about that.

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"I didn't read the whole thing cover to cover."

Matar added that he opposes Rushdie because he's "someone who attacked Islam. He attacked their beliefs, the belief systems."

The Iranian government said earlier this week that it had nothing with Rushdie's attack.

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