Salman Rushdie, the author of “The Satanic Verses,” was attacked on Friday while preparing to give a lecture in New York. The author received immediate first aid after being stabbed in the neck and torso and is now in critical condition on a ventilator following emergency surgery.
The perpetrator was apprehended at the scene and has since been identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar from New Jersey. The reason for Matar's attack is still unknown. He is also believed to have acted alone. Rushdie received death threats from Iran in the 1980s over his writing, which is considered blasphemous by many Muslims.
According to an Associated Press reporter who was at the event, Rushdie was being introduced on stage at the Chautauqua Institution this Friday, when an unknown man approached him and repeatedly stabbed or hit him dozens of times.
Rushdie was immediately given first aid. A helicopter soon arrived and took him to the hospital.
“The author was being introduced around eleven o'clock in the morning when the assault occurred,” said another witness. “I could hear yelling from the audience. A man in a black shirt then appeared to punch or stab Rushdie. I was far away from the stage, so I didn't hear or see anything from the attacker” he went on.
On Twitter, New York Governor Kathy Hochulsaid she appreciated those who responded promptly at the scene, supported Rushdie, and joined the police force to catch the suspect who attacked the writer. "At this time, all our attention goes to Rushdie and his loved ones following this horrific incident," she added.
Earlier, on its website, the Chautauqua Institute described the event that happened this Friday as “A discussion about America's asylum for writers and artists in exile and a place for free creative expression.”
Salman Rushdie was born on June 19, 1947, in Bombay, India to a wealthy intellectual family; his mother is a teacher, and his father is a lawyer and businessman who is an alumnus of Cambridge University, where Salman Rushdie later studied history. Other classic works by him include Midnight's Children (1981), Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990), and The Enchantress of Florence (2008), ...
Writings brought Salman Rushdie fame and awards, including the Booker Prize, the Whitbread Prize, and the James Tait Black Award but also turned him into a "criminal," a divisive figure in the world of literature. Archbishop Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran threatened him with death in 1988, following the publication of “The Satanic Verses”.
Jimmy Carter, the former president of the United States, once stated in The New York Times article named “Rushdie's book is an insult” that the book’s content insults Muhammad and defames the Koran. “The author, an experienced Islam analyst, must have anticipated the reactions of religious followers all over the world,” Carter wrote.
The Iranian authorities did not cancel his death sentence until September 1998. The writer was knighted by the Queen of England in 2008.
The incident continues to be investigated by police.
Edited by: Tom Culf
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