A man who allegedly stabbed Sir Salman Rushdie has reportedly said he didn't think the writer would survive.
Hadi Matar, 24, denies charges of attempted murder and assault after the author was seriously injured as he was about to give a talk in Chautauqua, New York state, last Friday.
The 75-year-old Indian-born Briton has had death threats for decades since Iran's then leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, in 1989 calling for Sir Salman to be killed.
It came after his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, was seen as blasphemous by some Muslims.
Speaking to the New York Post from Chautauqua County Jail, Matar said of Rushdie: "When I heard he survived, I was surprised, I guess."
He also said: "I don't like the person. I don't think he's a very good person. I don't like him. I don't like him very much.
"He's someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems."
According to the Post, Matar went on: "I respect the ayatollah. I think he's a great person. That's as far as I will say about that." He noted he only "read a couple pages" of Sir Salman's controversial novel.
He would not say if he was inspired by the late ayatollah, citing a warning by his lawyer.
Sir Salman was stabbed about 12 times, including in the face and neck, as he was introduced at the Chautauqua Institution, said local officials.
A preliminary review of Matar's social media showed he had sympathies for Shia extremism and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard, according to NBC News, which cited a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation.
The accused, from Fairview in New Jersey, who has appeared in court, denied being in contact with the Revolutionary Guard, and said he was inspired to go to Chautauqua after seeing a tweet announcing Sir Salman's visit sometime in the winter.
He described how he took a bus to Buffalo the day before he allegedly stabbed Rushdie, and then took a taxi to Chautauqua.
"It's a nice place," he said, referring to the institution.
"I was hanging around pretty much. Not doing anything in particular, just walking around," he added, saying he slept in the grass on Thursday night. "I was just outside the whole time."
Iran's foreign ministry has said the writer brought the stabbing attack that left him with "life-changing" injuries on himself.
One stab punctured his eye and another punctured his liver, the Chautauqua County district attorney's office said.
Sir Salman was also stabbed elsewhere in his abdomen and chest.
His son said on Sunday that his father has been "able to say a few words" and retains his "usual feisty and defiant sense of humour".
Zafar Rushdie said Sir Salman remained in a "critical condition" but was taken off a ventilator on Saturday.
Police said the event's moderator, Henry Reese, suffered a minor head injury after also being attacked.