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Mother of alleged Salman Rushdie attacker says her son is 'responsible for his actions'

The mother of the alleged Iranian sympathizer accused of plotting to kill Salman Rushdie has shared how her outgoing American-raised son took a month-long trip to the Middle East — and came back a religious fanatic.

Distraught Silvana Fardos also revealed a number of items FBI agents had seized from her 24-year-old son Hadi Matar’s basement, including a computer, PlayStation, books, knives and a knife-sharpening tool.

The first she learned of the frenzied stabbing of acclaimed author Rushdie, 75, was when officers raided her home in Fairview, New Jersey on Friday afternoon.

Rushdie’s life has been threatened since 1989, when the late Ayatollah Khomeini – leader of Iran’s Islamic revolution – denounced his famous book, The Satanic Verses, as blasphemous and issued a fatwa calling for his death.

“I got a call from my daughter. I was at work and she told me the FBI is here — I was shocked,” Silvana, 46, told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.

Silvana Fardos, mother of Hadi Matar, 24, the alleged Iranian sympathizer accused of trying to kill Salman Rushdie on Friday, says her son took a trip to the Middle East — and came back as a religious fanatic

Silvana Fardos, mother of Hadi Matar, 24, the alleged Iranian sympathizer accused of trying to kill Salman Rushdie on Friday, says her son took a trip to the Middle East — and came back as a religious fanatic

Hadi Matar, 24, is accused of carrying out a stabbing against Salman Rushdie, author of 'Satanic Verses'.  He has filed a not-guilty plea on charges of attempted murder and assault

Hadi Matar, 24, is accused of carrying out a stabbing against Salman Rushdie, author of 'Satanic Verses'.  He has filed a not-guilty plea on charges of attempted murder and assault

Hadi Matar, 24, is accused of carrying out a stabbing against Salman Rushdie, author of ‘Satanic Verses’. He has filed a not-guilty plea on charges of attempted murder and assault

“To tell you the truth, I’ve never heard of his writer. I’ve never read any of his books, I didn’t know such a writer even existed. I didn’t know my son had ever read his book.

“I just can’t believe he was able to do such a thing. He was very quiet, everyone loved him. Like I told the FBI, I’m not going to talk to him anymore. He is responsible for his actions.

“I have two minors to take care of. They are upset, they are shocked. All we can do is try to get on here without him.’

Matar was born in the US to Lebanese parents who emigrated from the southern border town of Yaroun, a stronghold of the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.

He grew up and went to school in Cudahy, California, before his mother divorced his father Hassan Matar in 2004. Her ex-husband returned to the Middle East while she moved to New Jersey for a fresh start.

During a 2018 trip to Lebanon to visit his father, Hadi went from being a popular, doting son to a moody introvert, according to Silvana.

‘The first hour he got there, he called me, he wanted to come back. He stayed for about 28 days, but the trip did not go well with his father, he felt very alone,” she told DailyMail.com.

“I expected him to come back motivated, finish school, graduate and get a job. But instead, he locked himself in the basement. He had changed a lot, he said nothing to me or his sisters for months.

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

“He sleeps during the day and wakes up at night and eats. He lives in the basement. He cooks his own food.’

Recently Released Mugshots Show Suspected Knifeman Hadi Matar While Detained in NYC

Recently Released Mugshots Show Suspected Knifeman Hadi Matar While Detained in NYC

Recently Released Mugshots Show Suspected Knifeman Hadi Matar While Detained in NYC

Matar was born in the US to Lebanese parents who immigrated to California, where he attended school.  His mother divorced his father and moved to New Jersey for a fresh start

Matar was born in the US to Lebanese parents who immigrated to California, where he attended school.  His mother divorced his father and moved to New Jersey for a fresh start

Matar was born in the US to Lebanese parents who immigrated to California, where he attended school. His mother divorced his father and moved to New Jersey for a fresh start

Silvana Fardos found out her son was getting more religious and he would criticize her for not giving him a strict Muslim upbringing

Silvana Fardos found out her son was getting more religious and he would criticize her for not giving him a strict Muslim upbringing

Silvana Fardos found out her son was getting more religious and he would criticize her for not giving him a strict Muslim upbringing

Silvana also found that her son was becoming more religious and he would criticize her for not giving him a strict Muslim upbringing.

He also forbade her from entering his basement home, which is located directly below the $700,000 four-bed house where she lives with his twin sisters, 14 years old.

“Once he had an argument with me and asked why I was encouraging him to get an education instead of focusing on religion. He was angry that I did not introduce him to Islam from an early age,” Silvana added.

‘I’m Lebanese, but I’ve been here for 26 years. I live a simple life as a single mother and try to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table for my children.

“I don’t care about politics, I’m not religious. I was born a Muslim and that’s about it. I have not forced my children into religion or forced anything on my son. I don’t know anyone in Iran, my whole family is here.’

Matar, whose now-deleted Facebook page is full of photos of Iranian politicians, stormed onto the stage of a literary festival in upstate New York on Friday morning when Rushdie was announced.

He stabbed the Booker Prize-winning author several times before being nailed to the ground by shocked witnesses and arrested by a state agent.

Rushdie was flown to hospital and placed on a ventilator but has since recovered enough to speak and remains his “feisty and defiant” self, his son Zafar announced today.

Salman Rushdie (pictured in Los Angeles in 2013) has now been taken off a ventilator and can speak.  It was feared he would be unable to speak after last week's attack

Salman Rushdie (pictured in Los Angeles in 2013) has now been taken off a ventilator and can speak.  It was feared he would be unable to speak after last week's attack

Salman Rushdie (pictured in Los Angeles in 2013) has now been taken off a ventilator and can speak. It was feared he would be unable to speak after last week’s attack

Rushdie told a German magazine earlier this month that the fatwa against him no longer feared him.  Here, bystanders and staff tend to Mr Rushdie onstage after the attack

Rushdie told a German magazine earlier this month that the fatwa against him no longer feared him.  Here, bystanders and staff tend to Mr Rushdie onstage after the attack

Rushdie told a German magazine earlier this month that the fatwa against him no longer feared him. Here, bystanders and staff tend to Mr Rushdie onstage after the attack

Author Salman Rushdie laughs as he attends a photo call with his book "Quixote" to the authors shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction 2019 at London's Southbank Center

Author Salman Rushdie laughs as he attends a photo call with his book "Quixote" to the authors shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction 2019 at London's Southbank Center

Author Salman Rushdie laughs as he attends a photo call with his book ‘Quichotte’ for the authors shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction 2019 at London’s Southbank Center

Matar was said to be using a fake driver’s license under the name Hassan Mughniyah when he committed the botched murder.

The current leader of Hezbollah is named Hassan Nasrallah, while one of its most notorious commanders was called Imad Mughniyeh. It listed his address as an apartment in West New York, New Jersey, but the unit owner told DailyMail.com she had never heard of Matar or Mughniyeh.

Matar has never had a job, never had a girlfriend, but went to a local boxing gym three months ago – before abruptly canceling his membership last week.

Despite his growing zeal for Islam, he never dressed differently, leading Silvana to hope it was just a passing phase.

“When I heard that he had gone to a gym, I was happy,” added his mother, a special assistant teacher and an Arabic translator in high school.

“I had encouraged him to get a job, go back to school. He actually started a job at Marshalls a few months ago.

“He even told me he was going back to school in September to study cybersecurity, which I was super excited about.

“I felt like he was in a prolonged depression and now it was time for him to recover and come back to life, to return to his family.”

While fighting tears, she added: “I didn’t watch the video of what happened, I don’t want to. I only know what has been written.

“The FBI gave me a document to sign stating that they had stolen his computer, his PlayStation, some books, some other items, including knives and a sharpener.

“I feel sorry for Mr Rushdie. I hope he recovers, but I can’t say or do much because this was not my act.’

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