An Islamic studies academic dubbed the “Professor of Peace” at Oberlin College in Ohio endorsed the campaign to assassinate U.S. and British writer Salman Rushdie because the famous novelist depicted the Muslim prophet Muhammad irreverently.
A 24-year-old man named Hadi Matar allegedly stabbed Rushdie on Friday in the neck and liver during the author’s speech in Chautauqua, New York. Rushdie is on a ventilator and cannot talk.
According to law enforcement officials, Matar’s social media footprint showed that he was a fan of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. Matar was also sympathetic to radical Shia Islamism—the governing religion of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
When asked about the then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini’s fatwa and the “right to put a bounty on someone’s head,” according to a 1989 Reuters report, Iranian scholar and former diplomat Mohammad Jafar Mahallati responded: “I think all Islamic countries agree with Iran. All Islamic nations and countries agree with Iran that any blasphemous statement against sacred figures should be condemned.”
Mahallati added, “I think if Western countries really believe and respect freedom of speech, therefore they should also respect our freedom of speech. We certainly use that right in order to express ourselves, our religious belief, in the case of any blasphemous statement against sacred Islamic figures.”
Fox News Digital sent a press query to Mahallati. An automatic reply from Mahallati’s Oberlin College email said: “Greetings! I am on summer leave. I will respond back whenever I can.” Fox News Digital also sent press queries to the president of Oberlin College, Carmen Twillie Ambar.
The prominent Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad took to Twitter to blast Mahallati. She wrote: “Guess who defends Khomeini’s FATWA against #Salman Rushdie? Mahallati the Islamic Republic’s former ambassador at the UN who is a now a professor at @oberlincollege.” Alinejad’s tweet went viral, securing 502 retweeets and 1,629 likes.
Iran’s regime has targeted Alinjead on New York City soil to be kidnapped and assassinated, according to law enforcement officials and experts on Iranian regime-sponsored terrorism. An armed man was indicted on Friday for standing outside of her home in Brooklyn armed with an AK-47-style rifle
In a second tweet, the women’s rights activist Alinejad wrote: “We Iranians call on @oberlincollege again to investigate about Mahallati the Islamic Republic’s former ambassador at the UN who defends the Fatwa against Salman Rushdie. I can provide many other documents showing his role on covering up the mass executions in 1988 in Iran.”
A detailed 2018 Amnesty International report accused Mahallati of carrying out “crimes against humanity” for covering up the massacre of at least 5,000 Iranian dissidents in 1988. Mahallati denies that he played a role in the cover-up of the 1988 massacre of innocent Iranian prisoners.
After Fox News Digital exclusively revealed in Feb. 2021 that Mahallati called for the destruction of the Jewish state and denigrated the persecuted religious minority Bahá’í community, Oberlin College launched an investigation.
Oberlin College spokesman Scott Wargo told the local Chronicle-Telegram newspaper in Oct. 2021 that “The college could find no evidence to corroborate the allegations against Prof. Mahallati, including that he had specific knowledge of the murders taking place.”
The Oberlin College student paper The Oberlin Review conducted its own inquiry and issued a scathing editorial entitled: “Evidence Against Mahallati Irrefutalble.”
50 UN-affiliated NGOs demanded earlier this year that the UN launch an inquiry into Mahallati’s alleged crimes against humanity. Iranian dissidents also claimed Oberlin College “whitewashed” Mahallati’s crimes.
Kaveh Shahrooz, an Iranian-Canadian lawyer, and Iranian-American human rights activist, Lawdan Bazargan, wrote a joint response in the student paper to Oberlin’s report at the time. They said “The evidence is, in fact, overwhelming” against Mahallat and that “Oberlin’s investigators must have exerted great effort not to find it.”
The theocratic state in Iran executed Shahrooz’s uncle, Mehrdad Ashtari, in 1988 and Bazargan’s brother, Bijan, in the same year. Critics point out the Orwellian twist to Mahallati’s title at Oberlin College as the “Professor of Peace.”
According to a New York Times article, the Islamic Republic of Iran attacked the U.S. guided-missile cruiser Wainwright, causing the deaths of two American crew members: Capt. Stephen C. Leslie of New Bern, North Carolina, and Capt. Kenneth W. Hill of Thomasville, North Carolina.
Mahallati said at the time “The American administration has miserably failed both politically and militarily, “after the report that Iran’s clerical regime destroyed three American vessels. Mahallati added that this will “show the United States the lesson one learned in Vietnam.”
Both Democratic and Republican administrations have classified Iran’s regime as the world’s worst international state-sponsor of terrorism.