Salman Rushdie, an Indian-born novelist who lived in hiding for years after Iran called on Muslims to murder him because of his writing, was stabbed in the neck and torso onstage at a lecture in New York state on Friday, according to police. He was then flown to a hospital, where he is currently being treated.
After several hours of surgery, Rushdie was left speechless and on a ventilator on Friday night following an attack that was denounced by authors and politicians throughout the world as an attack on the right to free speech. His book agent, Andrew Wylie, emailed him with the news, saying, “The news is not good.” “Salman was stabbed in the liver and would probably lose one eye, the nerves in his arm were severed, and.”
A guy rushed to the stage as Rushdie, 75, was being introduced to speak to a large audience about artistic freedom at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York when the novelist, who has had a bounty on his head since the late 1980s, was attacked. Those present assisted in removing the man from Rushdie, who had collapsed to the ground. An officer from the New York State Police assigned to the event’s security detained the perpetrator.
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Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old New Jersey resident from Fairview who purchased a ticket to the event, was named by police as the suspect. Bradley Fisher, who was in the crowd, described how a man suddenly burst onto the stage from wherever and began repeatedly punching him in the neck and chest. “People were breathing, crying, and screaming.”
While emergency personnel came, a doctor in the crowd provided Rushdie with care, according to the authorities. The event’s moderator, Henry Reese, had a mild head injury. To find a motive, police said they were collaborating with federal authorities. The weapon used was not described.
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser for the White House, called the incident “appalling.” He posted a message on Twitter saying, “We’re grateful to good folks and first responders for assisting him so fast. For his fourth book, “The Satanic Verses,” Rushdie, who was born into a Muslim Kashmiri family in Bombay, now Mumbai, before relocating to the UK, has long received death threats.
Muslims claimed the book had blasphemous sections. When it was published in 1988, it was prohibited in many nations with sizable Muslim populations. A few months later, the supreme leader of Iran at the time, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or religious decree, ordering Muslims to execute the author and anybody involved in the book’s release for blasphemy.
Rushdie spent over ten years in hiding and referred to his book as “very light.” In 1991, Hitoshi Igarashi, the book’s Japanese translator, was assassinated. Rushdie has recently led a somewhat open life; the Iranian government said in 1998 that it would no longer support the fatwa.
Millions of dollars have been raised by Iranian organisations, some of which are government-affiliated, as a reward for Rushdie’s assassination. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who succeeded Khomeini as the country’s supreme leader, claimed in 2019 that the fatwa was “irrevocable.” In 2016, money was contributed to enhance the bounty by $600,000 by the semi-official Fars News Agency of Iran and other media sources. In its coverage on the incident on Friday, Fars labelled Rushdie an atheist who “insulted the prophet.”
Not A Average Writer
Under the pseudonym “Joseph Anton,” which he used while under the protection of the British police, Rushdie released a memoir in 2012 about his reclusive, hidden existence living under the fatwa. The Booker Prize was awarded to his second book, “Midnight’s Children.” In February, his brand-new book “Victory City” is scheduled for release.
The stabbing of Rushdie as he was exercising a right that we should never stop defending outraged British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. According to the institution’s website, Rushdie attended the venue in western New York for a debate about the country’s policy of providing shelter to artists who are living in exile as well as “as a home for freedom of creative expression.”
Attendees at the historic Chautauqua Institution, established in the 19th century in the diminutive lakeside town of the same name, reported that there were no overt security checks; rather, staff members merely examined people’s permits for admittance. Anour Rahmani, a human rights activist and writer from Algeria, said, “I felt that we needed to have more protection there since Salman Rushdie is not a typical writer.” He is a writer who has a fatwa issued against him.
At a press conference, institution president Michael Hill stated that they often collaborate with regional and local law enforcement to ensure event security. He promised to shortly resume the summer programme. According to Hill, “Our entire goal is to assist individuals cross a world that has become far too divided.” “I don’t think Mr. Rushdie would want Chautauqua to back away from its objective in light of this tragedy, and that would be the worst thing Chautauqua could do,” said the author.
Rushdie lives in New York City and acquired US citizenship in 2016.
He has been an outspoken critic of tyranny in his native India, notably under the Hindu-nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and a self-described “hard-line atheist” who has criticised religion on all sides of the religious spectrum. Former Rushdie president of the free speech organisation PEN America said it was “reeling with shock and outrage” at what it called a “unprecedented attack on a writer in the United States.”
As PEN’s chief executive stated in the statement, “Salman Rushdie has been attacked for his thoughts for decades but has never flinched or wavered.” She claimed that Rushdie had emailed her earlier that morning asking for assistance in discovering Ukrainian writers who were seeking asylum.