Opinion: Media’s insistence on claiming not to know devout Shi’ite Muslim and Iran admirer’s motives for stabbing the Satanic Verses writer is a point of concern; if our generation’s intellectuals choose to ignore reality to push agendas, we’re in deep trouble

Since the attempted murder of novelist Salman Rushdie in New York last week, media outlets across the board, especially The New York Times (NYT), have repeated the claim the perpetrator’s motive for the attack is “unknown”.

They claim that despite being aware that the assailant, Hadi Matar, is a devote Shi’ite Muslim who has expressed admiration for the Iranian regime. They also know that Iran’s former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the writer’s death back in 1989. Still, the politically-correct newspaper’s editors insist on ignoring the correlation between these facts.

ארה"ב האדי מטר בית משפט האיש שתקף דקר את סלמן רושדי
Hadi Matar appears in court on charges of attempted murder of Salman Rushdie (Photo: AP)


Allow me to ask – could the perpetrator’s motive be that he set out to fulfill the holy commands of his master, being a devote Shi’ite Muslim? “No way, it can’t be,” the NYT would’ve likely told me, pointing to the “disinformation” spread by TikTok and other social networks and media outlets.

It’s sad since it’s obvious there are several kinds of disinformation, which widely differ from each other. As someone who is engaged in a research about disinformation, I can tell you this phenomenon has indeed grown more advanced over the years.

There is disinformation on social networks, such as TikTok, which would repeat a lie over and over again until it becomes indiscernible from the truth. There is academic disinformation, which presents the weak as victims and the strong as oppressors without accounting for the circumstances. There is journalistic misinformation, which insists on sweeping facts under the rug, especially those that are inconvenient to its agenda and narrative.

סלמאן רושדי
Salman Rushdie (Photo: AP)


It seems the most outrageous form of disinformation is spread precisely by those who see themselves as intellectuals.

This is why following the deadly shooting attack in central Tel Aviv in April, the BBC News headline was: “Israeli forces shoot dead Palestinian after Tel Aviv bar attack.” Why mention that the Palestinian who had been shot just murdered three innocent Israelis who were dining at a restaurant.

The same with the Rushdie case. We all know why the young man arrived at that lecture with a knife. Yes, we may be only 99% sure, and not 100%. But, it seems the NYT is ignoring the 99%, focusing obsessively on the remaining 1%. In an attempt to vouch for the minority, common sense is overlooked.

It’s not as if the media didn’t know what the likely motive of the perpetrator was. A day after the attack, the New York Police Department reported that Matar expressed sympathy toward Shi’ite extremism and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. His Facebook page included photos of Khomeini, current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and Qasem Soleimani, the IRGC commander assassinated by U.S. in 2020. Yet still, the journalists cannot for the life of them make the connection between all these facts.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini speaking to followers in Tehran during the 1979 Islamic revolution
Former Iran’s Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini speaking to followers in Tehran during the 1979 revolution (Photo: Reuters)


While any five-year-old could easily crack the code, those at NYT – whose job it is to investigate – cannot seem to decipher it.

The blindness to the facts is not exclusive to Americans. It’s embedded into us as humans. We obsessively repress any piece of evidence that could undermine the narrative we’ve built for ourselves. This is true across all the political spectrum in Israel as well.

For the Left, it’s the inability to admit that the Palestinian Authority is constantly feeding incitement (just like the Iranian incitement led to the stabbing, almost murder, of Rushdie). The incitement is leading to cultivation of terrorism. The so-called occupation could’ve been over years ago, but time and time again the Palestinians refused any peace offer that was in front of them. But, it is not politically correct to tell the truth. Just like the NYT refuses to blame radical Islam for the attack on Rushdie out of some false sense of righteousness.

As for the Right, it suffers from blindness in its refusal to acknowledge that it’s creating a binational reality in Israel that will bring the demise of the Jewish state. Those who say that any independent Palestinian entity would be a terror state are not wrong. But who said that in order to depart from the Palestinians we must establish a state for them? Disengagement can be done while staying in control.

רגע אחרי התקיפה של סלמאן רושדי
Scene of the attack on Salman Rushdie in New York (Photo: AP)


It’s fine to stand up for the weak, for social justice, for minorities. But you don’t have to be blind to reality while doing so. And if NYT, or of one of the Israeli political blocs, cannot withstand facing the facts and dealing with new circumstances – it is a problem.

Somewhere between 0.5 to 1.5 million Americans of Iranian descent live in the U.S. Most of them, in some way or another, escaped the Iranian regime, and are usually not involved in the political field. They most likely will not riot en masse if the media denounces an Islamic radical (who isn’t even from Iran, but from Lebanon) for stabbing a world-famous writer.

Despite this, the politically correct crowd continues to do more harm than good. It’s happening in the U.S. and its happening here. It’s very easy to affiliate this blindness to a crazy minority. But this is a trouble of many.

As reported by Ynetnews