Home / News / World /  Salman Rushdie attacker’s mother hints at radicalisation, blames it on son’s Middle East trip
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A trip to Lebanon in 2018 changed Hadi Matar, the man accused of attacking British novelist Salman Rushdie, making him more devout and less extroverted, according to his mother. After visiting his estranged father, Silvana Fardos, a Lebanese-born woman from Fairview, New Jersey, described her 24-year-old son as "a moody introvert" who had become increasingly hooked on Islam.

Also Read: Who is Salman Rushdie attacker Hadi Matar? What we know so far

Matar was raised in California after being born in the US. According to the Mail, his parents got divorced in 2004, with Fardos relocating to New Jersey and his father Hassan Matar returning to Lebanon in the Middle East.

At the scene of the assault on Rushdie at a literary event in upstate New York on Friday, Matar was detained. He was charged with attempted murder and assault with a weapon the next day and entered a not guilty plea. He is still being jailed without bail.

"One time he argued with me asking why I encouraged him to get an education instead of focusing on religion," she told the website of Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.

"He was angry that I did not introduce him to Islam from a young age," she said in an interview published online late Sunday.

The 75-year-old author was stabbed about ten times, according to the prosecution, who also described the attack as deliberate and planned. The background or potential motivation of the suspect have not been disclosed by the police.

Hadi 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.

Also Read: Salman Rushdie on 'road to recovery' days after attack

"I just cannot believe he was capable of doing something like this. He was very quiet, everyone loved him," she said.

In addition to knives and sharpeners, Fardos claimed that federal authorities had taken Matar's computer, his PlayStation, books, and other belongings. After his journey to Lebanon, her kid "changed a lot" she claimed.

"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.

Also Read: ‘The Satanic Verses’ writer may lose an eye

"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 agency inputs)

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