Rushdie’s status is unknown, according to US authorities, who state that he has an “apparent stab wound” to the neck.
Author Salman Rushdie, whose works in the 1980s prompted death threats from Iran, was attacked as he prepared to deliver a lecture in southern New York state.
According to the police, Rushdie was allegedly attacked together with an interviewer on Friday and then stabbed in the neck.
“Rushdie was flown by helicopter to a local hospital after sustaining what appeared to be a neck knife wound. His condition is still unknown, according to a statement from the New York State Police.
A mild head injury was sustained by the interviewer. The defendant was taken into custody right away by a State Trooper deployed to the scene.
According to a Rushdie spokeswoman quoted by the Reuters news agency, the author is undergoing surgery, but no other information was given. Rushdie is still alive, according to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, and is “receiving the treatment he needs at a local hospital.”
As Rushdie was being introduced, a correspondent for the Associated Press saw a man attack the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and start striking or stabbing Rushdie. The author was restrained after being kidnapped or falling to the ground.
Rushdie was stabbed six to eight times, according to Stacey Schlosser, a witness to the assault, before the assailant was subdued.
“No one was sure what to do. Nobody was sure how to respond. The stage was rushed by a large number of individuals, Schlosser stated.
Since 1988, Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses has been prohibited in Iran because many Muslims view it as blasphemous. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late president of Iran, issued an edict demanding Rushdie’s execution a year later.
Iran has also offered a reward of more than $3 million for the murder of Rushdie. Although the Iranian government had long since distanced itself from Khomeini’s order, animosity for Rushdie persisted. Rushdie was given a $2.8 million reward in 2012, but a semi-official Iranian religious foundation increased it to $3.3 million.
At the time, Rushdie rejected that threat, claiming there was “no proof” that anyone would be interested in the reward. He wrote a memoir called Joseph Anton about the experience that same year. Rushdie’s hiding-place moniker served as the inspiration for the title.
Rushdie first gained notoriety with his Booker Prize-winning Midnight’s Children in 1981, but it was The Satanic Verses that made him a household celebrity.
The Chautauqua Institution is well-known for its summer lecture series. It is located about 90 kilometers (55 miles) southwest of Buffalo in a rural area of New York. Rushdie has previously spoken there.
The author, a British-Indian who now resides in the United States, had previously been placed under police protection due to threats against his life. He has released numerous novels. He was knighted in the UK in 2007, which prompted unrest in several anofficials appalled Muslim-majority nations.
On Friday, political figures and advocacy groups in the US and the UK condemned the act. Rushdie was stabbed “while exercising a freedom we should never cease to defend,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend.
Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 12, 2022
Rushdie previously served as the president of Pen America, a writers’ organization that supports the right to free speech. Rushdie called the assault a “premeditated attack.”
“PEN America is reeling from shock and horror at the word of a brutal, premeditated attack on our former President and stalwart ally, Salman Rushdie,” the organization’s CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement. “He was reportedly stabbed multiple times while on stage speaking at the Chautauqua Institute in upstate New York.”
“We can think of no comparable incidence of a public violent attack on a literary writer on American territory,” the statement reads.
New York senator and majority leader in the US Senate Chuck Schumer described the attack on Rushdie as officials appalled “appalling” violation of “freedom of expression and thought.”
Schumer posted on Twitter, “I hope Mr. Rushdie soon and fully recovers and the offender receives full accountability and justice.”