Salman Rushdie, the Indian-born novelist who spent years in hiding after Iran called on Muslims to kill him for his writing, was stabbed in the neck and torso on stage at a lecture in New York state. York on Friday and was taken to the hospital, police said.
After hours of surgery, Rushdie was on a ventilator and was unable to speak on Friday night following an attack that was condemned by writers and politicians around the world as an attack on freedom of expression.
“This is not good news,” Andrew Wylie, his book dealer, wrote in an email. “Salman will probably lose an eye; the nerves in his arm are severed; and his liver is stabbed and damaged.”
Rushdie, 75, was being introduced to speak to hundreds of spectators about artistic freedom at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York when a man leaped onto the stage and lunged at the novelist, who had lived with a bonus on top since the end. The 1980s.
Stunned attendees helped wrestle the man away from Rushdie, who fell to the floor. A New York State Police officer providing security at the event arrested the attacker. Police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey, who purchased tickets to the event.
Bradley Fisher, who was in the stands, said: ‘Where and how a man jumps onto the stage is like slamming him in the chest, repeatedly punching his chest and neck. “People were screaming, crying and gasping.”
A doctor in the audience helped Rushdie while emergency services arrived, police said. Henry Reese, the event moderator, suffered minor head injuries. Police said they are working with federal investigators to determine a motive. They do not describe the weapon used.
Rushdie, who was born to a Muslim Kashmiri family in Bombay, now Mumbai, before moving to the UK, has long faced death threats for her fourth novel, “The Satanic Verses.” Some Muslims say the book contains blasphemous passages. It was banned in many Muslim-majority countries when it was published in 1988.
A few months later, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then the supreme leader of Iran, announced a religious decree, or fatwa, calling on Muslims to kill the novelist and anyone involved with the publication of the book. books for blasphemy.
Rushdie, who calls her novel “quite gentle,” has been in hiding for nearly a decade. Hitoshi Igarashi, the novel’s Japanese translator, was murdered in 1991. The Iranian government said in 1998 it would no longer support Fatwa, and Rushdie has lived relatively openly in recent years.
Iranian organizations, some affiliated with the government, have raised millions of dollars in prize money for Rushdie’s murder. And Khomeini’s successor as supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said most recently in 2019 that Fatwa is “unchangeable.”
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency and other news agencies donated money in 2016 to increase the prize money by $600,000. Fars called Rushdie an apostate who “insulted the prophet” in his report on Friday’s attack.
‘NOT A USER WRITE’
Rushdie published a memoir in 2012 about his secretive, secretive life under the name “Joseph Anton”, the pseudonym he used while on duty as a British police guard. His second novel, “Midnight Children,” won the Booker Prize. His new novel “Victory City” will be published in February.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was horrified to see Rushdie “stabbed while exercising a right that we should never stop defending.”
Rushdie was at the institute in western New York to discuss the U.S. granting asylum to artists in exile and “as a home for the freedom of creative expression,” according to the organization’s website. .
There are no obvious security checks at Chautauqua Institution, a 19th-century landmark in the small lakeside town of the same name; Attendees said just check everyone’s card for admission.
Anour Rahmani, an Algerian writer and human rights activist, said: “I felt we needed more protection there because Salman Rushdie was not an ordinary writer. “He’s a writer with a relationship against him.”
Michael Hill, the organization’s president, said at a news conference that it was working with state and local police to provide security for the event. He vowed that the summer program would soon resume.
“Our whole purpose is to help people connect what’s already so divided in a world,” Hill said. “The worst thing Chautauqua can do is turn away from his duties after this tragedy, and I don’t think Mr. Rushdie wants that either.”
Rushdie became a US citizen in 2016 and lives in New York City.
A self-proclaimed “missing Muslim” and “hard-core atheist”, he is a scathing critic of worldwide religion and outspoken about oppression in his native India. , including under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.
PEN America, a free speech advocacy group of which Rushdie is a former president, said it was “spinned with shock and horror” at what it called an unprecedented attack on a writer. in the United States.
“Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades but has never faltered or faltered,” said Suzanne Nossel, chief executive officer of PEN. Earlier, in the morning, Rushdie had emailed her to help in relocating Ukrainian writers seeking refuge, she said.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)