Iran – Michmutters

JK Rowling sent death threat after posting support for Salman Rushdie

JK Rowling has been sent a chilling death warning “you’re next” after she posted support for Sir Salman Rushdie.

Rushdie, 75, suffered horror injuries as he was knifed up to 15 times in front of a horrified crowd at New York’s Chautauqua Institution.

Now Ms Rowling is working with the police after receiving a potential threat from a Twitter user, The Sun reports.

the Harry Potter author, 57, shared screenshots to Twitter of a message from a user who had written “don’t worry you are next” in response to her tweeting that she felt “very sick” after hearing the news and hoped the novelist would “be OK ”.

Rowling tagged Twitter’s support account in the post and said, “Any chance of some support?”

She later updated her followers on the situation saying, “To all sending supportive messages: thank you. Police are involved (were already involved in other threats).”

Rowling is among the authors and notable faces who have voiced their disbelief after Sir Salman was stabbed on stage in New York state.

The Indian-born British author, 75, whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution when the incident occurred, leaving him with an apparent stab wound to the neck.

He is on a ventilator and may lose an eye and has sustained nerve damage to his arm and liver, according to his agent.

On Friday, New York state police named the suspected attacker as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, who was taken into custody following the incident.

Since the suspect was identified, people on social media have speculated if the attack was in relation to Iran’s former leader Ayatollah Khomeini previously issuing a fatwa calling for his death.

The call was issued following the publication of his book The Satanic Verseswhich has been banned in Iran since 1988 as many Muslims view it as blasphemous.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission



Rushdie in hospital as outrage grows over stabbing

Salman Rushdie remained hospitalized in serious condition Saturday after being stabbed at a literary event in New York state in a shocking assault that triggered widespread international outrage, but drew applause from hardliners in Iran and Pakistan.

The British author, who spent years under police protection after Iranian leaders ordered his killing, underwent emergency surgery and was placed on a ventilator in a Pennsylvania hospital following Friday’s assault. His agent said he will likely lose an eye.

“Salman Rushdie — with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced — stands for essential, universal ideals. Truth. Courage. Resilience,” Biden said in a statement.

On Friday, a 24-year-old man from New Jersey, Hadi Matar, rushed the stage where Rushdie was about to deliver a lecture and stabbed him in the neck and abdomen.

Beyond Rushdie’s eye injury, the nerves in one of his arms were severed and his liver was damaged, according to his agent Andrew Wylie.

The fatwa followed publication of the novel “The Satanic Verses,” which sparked fury among some Muslims who believed it was blasphemous.

“For whatever it was, eight or nine years, it was quite serious,” he told a Stern correspondent in New York.

– Assailant raised in US –

Security was not particularly tight at Friday’s event at the Chautauqua Institution, which hosts arts programs in a tranquil lakeside community near Buffalo.

Matar’s family apparently came from a border village called Yaroun in southern Lebanon.

Matar was “born and raised in the US,” the head of the local municipality, Ali Qassem Tahfa, told AFP.

“I was very happy to hear the news,” said Mehrab Bigdeli, a man in his 50s studying to become a Muslim cleric.

In Pakistan, a spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan –- a party that has staged violent protests against what it deems to be anti-Muslim blasphemy — said Rushdie “deserved to be killed.”

British leader Boris Johnson said he was “appalled,” while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attack “reprehensible” and “cowardly.”

– Write memoir in hiding –

But his 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” transformed his life. The resulting fatwa forced him into nearly a decade in hiding, moving houses repeatedly and being unable to tell even his children of him where he lived.

Since moving to New York, Rushdie has been an outspoken advocate of freedom of speech and has continued writing — including a memoir, “Joseph Anton,” named after his alias while in hiding.



FIFA World Cup 2022 match schedule changed so Qatar opens tournament

FIFA has officially brought forward the opening match of this year’s World Cup by one day to November 20 in a rare change so that hosts Qatar feature in the gala game.

Football’s top officials universally approved the decision, FIFA said in a statement while Qatar said it would give unspecified help to fans affected by the change.

On the old schedule, Qatar against Ecuador was to be the official inauguration match on November 21 but Senegal against Netherlands would be the first match of the day. England against Iran would have been second.

RELATED: Qatar pushes for late World Cup change

Qatar had also been frustrated as it has invested in a huge opening ceremony show.

“Host country Qatar will now play Ecuador on Sunday 20 November as part of a stand-alone event,” said FIFA.

“The opening match and ceremony of this year’s tournament at Al Bayt Stadium have been brought forward one day following a unanimous decision taken by the bureau of the FIFA Council today.”

The bureau is made up of FIFA leader Gianni Infantino and the six heads of the continental confederations.

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‘Smooth tournament’ vow

“The change ensures the continuity of a long-standing tradition of marking the start of the World Cup with an opening ceremony on the occasion of the first match featuring either the hosts or the defending champions,” added FIFA.

Under the new plan, the Group A game between Senegal and the Netherlands has been shifted from 1pm on November 21 to a 7pm start. There is no change to England’s opening Group B clash against Iran.

Qatari organisers, who have spent billions of dollars preparing for the event, immediately welcomed FIFA’s gesture.

“Opening the first FIFA World Cup to be held in the Middle East and Arab world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Qatar,” said the organizing committee in a statement.

“The impact of this decision on fans was assessed by FIFA. We will work together to ensure a smooth tournament for the supporters affected by the change,” they added without giving details.

Some Ecuador fans may have to change flights to arrive in Qatar earlier and football sources said the date switch could force changes to some World Cup contracts.

But many companies linked to the World Cup expressed confidence that disruption would be overcome.

“It is something we will deal with,” said Jaime Byrom, chairman of Match Hospitality, which has a deal with FIFA to organize hospitality packages for World Cup matches and has locked in 450,000 tickets for the tournament.

“It is really not – compared to the other challenges that we could have faced or have faced in the past – a particularly large problem,” Byrom told AFP.

“We have to focus on those customers who are most affected and I guess in this case we will be looking at our Ecuadorean customers who are traveling from overseas, and making sure that they are on time for the match.”

Official countdown clocks for the event were quickly changed. The 100 day countdown to the opening match will now start on Friday, instead of Saturday.

The decision was also announced as Qatar staged the first official match at the Lusail stadium which will host the December 18 World Cup final.

Before more than 10,000 fans, and with players engulfed in airconditioning to ward off stifling summer heat, Al Arabi beat Al Rayyan 2-1 in the Qatar championship.



Bolton ’embarrassed’ at ‘low price’ allegedly offered in assassination plot

Former national security adviser John Bolton on Wednesday said that the price a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) allegedly attempted to pay people to kill Bolton was lower than he expected.

“The suspect put a $300,000 price tag on your head,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “Situation Room.” “What goes through your mind, ambassador, hearing the details of this plot, as explained today in great detail by the US Justice Department?”

“Well, I was embarrassed at the low price,” Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, responded. “I would have thought it would have been higher. But I guess maybe it was the exchange rate problem or something.”

The Department of Justice announced the plot publicly earlier on Wednesday, saying Shahram Poursafi started planning to murder Bolton in October in likely retaliation for his involvement in a drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, who led the IRGC’s elite Quds Force.

Poursafi also reportedly planned to target former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who served in the role at the time of the drone strike against Soleimani. Bolton said on CNN he had not spoken to Pompeo about the unsealed charging document and was only aware of the press reports about his alleged targeting of him.

Bolton added that the FBI warned him of foreign threats to his security, which “grew more severe” as time went on, noting that his Secret Service detail ended following his time in the White House but was recently reinstated.

“Eventually, by the late fall of 2021, I asked, ‘If it’s this serious, perhaps the Secret Service should be involved,’” Bolton said. “And ultimately President Biden made that decision. And I appreciate it, obviously.”

Bolton also slammed the Biden administration for negotiating with Iran on a new nuclear deal in the wake of the plot, saying attempts to “appease” Tehran encourage threats against US officials.

Talks led by the European Union in Vienna to negotiate the text of a potentially revived nuclear deal ended on Monday, and the EU’s foreign affairs chief said the capitals must now discuss the final text and there was no more room for negotiation.

“I think the deal was a mistake in 2015” when it was first created, Bolton said.

“It hasn’t gotten any better with age,” he continued. “The administration has been on its knees in Vienna begging to get back into the deal, which sends signals of weakness, not just to Tehran, but around the world.”



Qatar makes late schedule change to FIFA Football World Cup

The World Cup’s start will be brought forward by a day to allow hosts Qatar to play the opening game, sources told AFP on Wednesday, just over three months before the competition gets underway.

Qatar will now play Ecuador on November 20, 24 hours earlier than planned, in a move that FIFA’s ruling council was expected to confirm soon, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

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The change will see the tournament, which was switched to November-December to avoid the Gulf country’s searing summer heat, keep to its tradition of the hosts playing the opening match.

Senegal and the Netherlands had been scheduled to play the first game on November 21, followed by England against Iran and then the official opening match, Qatar’s World Cup debut, that evening.

“There were discussions and agreement between the two respective teams and there was a request from CONMEBOL — the South American confederation,” one World Cup source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity as no official decision has been announced.

“We wanted to follow the tradition that either the reigning champions or the host country be involved in the opening match,” the source added.

FIFA and the Qatari organizing committee declined to comment on the change to the mega event that ends on December 18.

But another tournament source said action would be taken to help fans with tickets for the November 21 game.

“Any disruption will be dealt with so the impact is minimal,” the source told AFP.

Under the change, Netherlands v Senegal in Group A would be moved from 1pm local time on November 21 to a 7pm start. “It is a better slot for both teams for television and other areas,” said the World Cup source.

England’s Group B match against Iran is not changed.

Companies with major deals linked to the World Cup expressed confidence that the unusual schedule change could be handled smoothly.

“It is something we will deal with,” said Jaime Byrom, chairman of Match Hospitality, which has a deal with FIFA to organize hospitality packages for World Cup matches and has locked in 450,000 tickets for the tournament.

“It is really not — compared to the other challenges that we could have faced or have faced in the past — a particularly large problem,” Byrom told AFP.

“We have to focus on those customers who are most affected and I guess in this case we will be looking at our Ecuadorean customers who are traveling from overseas, and making sure that they are on time for the match.”

Some pundits ridiculed the schedule change, asking why the move hadn’t already been considered.

New York Times reporter Tariq Panja tweeted: “Qatar and FIFA has had 12 years to plan for the 2022 World Cup now with just over 100 days and — with tickets sold, travel booked — they now want to start the tournament a day earlier so Qatar could play the first game (which could always have been the case). But here we are.

“What I suspect has happened here is that because it’s ‘only’ Ecuador and not a big European country, it has probably been easier to switch the game. What has never been made clear is why Qatar had not been placed in the opening game as per the original schedule.”

Journalist Grant Wahl wrote: “This late change to accommodate Qatar (and cause problems for Ecuador, including its fans) is of a piece with what I saw during the bid process for World Cup ’26 cities: FIFA does so much by the seat of its pants these days.”

The opening match is scheduled to be held at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt stadium, one of seven new venues purpose-built for the tournament since Qatar was controversially awarded the World Cup in 2010.

The wealthy Gulf state is preparing a spectacular opening ceremony in the stadium, whose structure was inspired by traditional Arab tents.

Moving forward the opening match will also mean changing the 100-day countdown that had been scheduled to start on Saturday, with special events across the tiny nation of 2.8 million people.

After a row over the bidding process, Qatar has faced criticism over labor rights and its treatment of the LGBTQ community. But FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said the tiny, gas-rich state will host the “best ever” World Cup.



Iranian asylum seeker on bridging visa wants permanency in Australia to care for her sick daughter

Elham Amareh is used to feeling fear and uncertainty, having fled Iran with her husband, son and daughter and making the treacherous journey to Australia by boat in 2013.

“My family is very strict with religion, and I didn’t follow my religion, and because I lose my hijab and lose my religion [sic]I cannot go back,” she said.

“If I return to my country, they will kill me straight away, and they will kill my daughter as well.”

Ms Amareh has lived in Australia for a decade now, but her attempts to secure a protection visa have been denied.

Instead, her family has lived on six-month bridging visas for most of that time.

Life’s uncertainties became too much to bear in January this year, when her 16-year-old daughter was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma – a type of blood cancer.

A woman stands next to a teenage girl in a hospital bed whose hair has fallen out from cancer treatment
Elham Amareh’s 16-year-old daughter, Areezo, is undergoing treatment in hospital for T-cell lymphoma. (Supplied)

“I am depressed [and] I can’t sleep,” she said.

“My whole family is depressed about [my daughter].

“As a mum, it’s hard when I see my child sick.

“I can’t go back to my country [because] it is hard to find her treatment in my country, and very expensive.”

People in limbo for years

Ms Amareh gradually reduced her work hours after her daughter’s diagnosis, and eventually quit, to spend more time at the hospital.

She said her husband was too depressed to work more than a few days each week, and her family was currently living in a house offered up as a short-term option by a friend.

While her visa arrangements include Medicare access, other supports such as those available through Centrelink are not included.

“I’ve been here a long time, we pay taxes, and we have children here,” she said.

“I just want a good life for my kids.”

A man sits next to a woman who is affectionately holding the shoulders of a teenage girl, they are sitting in a restaurant
The Amareh family has been living on six-month bridging visas for most of the last decade.(Supplied)

Immigration lawyer Chris Johnston said there were many others across the country struggling to find stability under current visa arrangements.

He said some were asylum seekers, like Ms Amareh, who had been denied refugee status, but were unable to return safely to their home country – creating a state of limbo.

“The system is messy, and it leaves many people in limbo for long periods of time,” he said.

“People are on bridging visas for up to a decade, and their life goes on [and] their children grow up and they’re still on bridging visas.

“There’s the uncertainty of, ‘If I get this visa refused, am I going to be put into detention? If I get put into detention, am I going to be deported?’

“It’s very stressful.”

Mr Johnston said the six-monthly renewal requirement, as well as some restrictions on access to healthcare, welfare, and education, made it extremely difficult for traumatized people to move on with their lives.

“They’re spending a lot of time just trying to access things, and get the basics for life,” he said.

Mr Johnston suggested a longer time frame between renewal could be applied, to reduce the pressure of six-monthly applications.

Giving refugees permanency

Around the same time Ms Amareh arrived in Australia, the number of asylum seekers traveling to the country by boat was increasing dramatically.

Successive Labor and Coalition governments brought in a range of policies designed to stop the arrival of boats carrying asylum seekers and deter people smuggling.

When the last Labor government was defeated in 2013, the Coalition reintroduced Temporary Protection Visas, available for a period of three years for people who arrive in Australia without a visa and were found to be owed international protection obligations.

Female hands holding two photographs
Elham Amareh fled Iran with her husband and two children in 2012.(ABC News: Trent Murphy)

In the lead up to this year’s federal election, Labor promised to abolish that scheme, along with the Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEVs), and “transition eligible refugees onto permanent visa arrangements.”

About 19,000 refugees on TPVs and SHEVs could be “eligible” under the changes.

Mr Johnston said the government had a “difficult challenge ahead” to develop the details of that “transition” in a timely fashion.

“Immigration policy is not an easy thing to do,” he said.

“But this is the time to do it, in the first year of their term.

“We don’t want to see this go on for another three years, or another six years.

“The time to act is now.”

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said he was “currently considering options on how best to resolve the current cohort’s visa status.”

“This Government will stop wasting taxpayer money reassessing their visas every three or five years … [and] will deliver on our commitment to convert those on temporary protection visas and safe haven enterprise visas to permanent protection visas,” he said.

A woman stirring a pot in a kitchen
Elham Amareh wants to live in Australia to care for her daughter.(ABC News: Trent Murphy)

What about bridging visas?

While the new Labor Government’s plan is a source of hope to certain visa-holders, the changes won’t help others stuck on bridging visas, like Ms Amareh and her family.

She said her family was desperate to stay in the country permanently, and focus on her daughter’s treatment.

“I want to be treated like an Australian citizen,” she said.

“Please — I want this government to look after us.”

The Minister for Immigration, Andrew Giles, has the power to intervene in migration matters.

A spokesperson for the Minister said he was unable to comment on individual cases, but that “every case was assessed on its individual merits.”

The Federal Government declined to comment on whether any policy changes were being considered around bridging visas held by asylum seekers, specifically Bridging Visa E (050).



Feds–NBC New York

Federal authorities are investigating whether a man arrested with a loaded assault rifle outside the Brooklyn home of an outspoken Iranian dissident was part of a plot to target or kill her, two law enforcement officials said.

Police arrested a Yonkers man — Khalid Mehdiyev — on Thursday with an AK-47-style weapon and 66 rounds of ammunition near the home of Masih Alinejad.

Alinejad is a well-known Iranian writer and dissident who last year was the alleged target of a kidnapping plot by Iranian agents, the FBI said. Iran has denied wrongdoing, calling the past kidnapping allegations “baseless.”

The FBI and NYPD are now looking into why Mehdiyev, 23, was seen near her home last week. Investigators said he had been seen walking around Ella’s Alinejad’s property several days last week, and at least once attempted to one her front door. She was not home at the time.

Suspect in possible assassination plot of Iranian dissident identified by senior law enforcement officials in doorbell camera footage.

Suspect in possible assassination plot of Iranian dissident identified by senior law enforcement officials in doorbell camera footage.

“Shocked to learn that an assassin with a loaded AK47 came my home in Brooklyn,” she tweeted Sunday. “Last year, the Islamic Republic, tried to kidnap me, now they want to kill me. I’m grateful to federal agents but the Administration must do more to protect US citizens.”

According to a complaint filed late Friday by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, Mehdiyev allegedly admitted the assault weapon was his and then asked for a lawyer, after first claiming he had traveled from Yonkers to Brooklyn in search of an apartment.

The Subaru used by Mehdiyev had Illinois plates, and had been issued a parking ticket near the Brooklyn residence the week before, court documents said.

Mehdiyev was pulled over around 3 pm by the NYPD at the corner of Dorchester Road and Rugby Road after going through a stop sign, an NYPD spokesman said.

He was allegedly driving with a suspended license and police said they later found a loaded AK-47 in the back seat. Prosecutors said serial numbers on the weapon had been defaced.

Mehdiyev is charged with a federal weapons count. The FBI and NYPD are looking into whether he was surveilling Alinejad’s home and whether he was acting alone.

An Iranian intelligence officer and three members of an Iranian intelligence network have been charged in Manhattan with plotting to lure a US resident and human rights activist from New York City to Iran. NBC New York’s Jonathan Dienst reports.

In July 2021, the FBI said it had uncovered an Iranian kidnapping plot to target Alinejad – allegedly to take her from her home, transport her to South America and then fly her back to Iran. Alinajed was moved to safe houses during the investigation for her protection of her, officials said at the time.

Alinejad has a huge following on social media given her outspoken criticism of the Iranian regime – especially on the issue of women’s rights.

An FBI spokeswoman confirmed Mehdiyev’s arrest but referred questions to an SDNY spokesman, who late Saturday offered no additional comment beyond the details included in the criminal complaint.

Attempts to reach Mehdiyev’s attorney were not immediately successful.