Internationally acclaimed "Satanic Verses" author Salman Rushdie was the victim of an assassination attempt after he was stabbed multiple times by a man identified as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, moments before his lecture presentation in western New York on Friday, reported The Associated Press.
Stabbed in the neck and abdomen, a bloodied Rushdie, 75, was immediately flown to a hospital and was undergoing surgery, police said. Salman Rushdie: Author on ventilator and unable to speak, agent says.
Police identified the man who attacked author Salman Rushdie as Hadi Matar. He was arrested at the scene and was awaiting arraignment.
State police Major Eugene J. Staniszewski said the motive for the stabbing was unclear.
An Associated Press reporter witnessed the attacker confront Rushdie on stage at the Chautauqua Institution and punch or stab him 10 to 15 times as he was being introduced. The author was pushed or fell to the floor, and the man was arrested.
Dr. Martin Haskell, a physician who was among those who rushed to help, described Rushdie’s wounds as “serious but recoverable.”
Event moderator Henry Reese, 73, a co-founder of an organization that offers residencies to writers facing persecution, was also attacked. Reese suffered a facial injury and was treated and released from a hospital, police said. He and Rushdie were due to discuss the United States as a refuge for writers and other artists in exile.
A state trooper and a county sheriff’s deputy were assigned to Rushdie’s lecture, and state police said the trooper made the arrest. But after the attack, some longtime visitors to the centre questioned why there wasn’t tighter security for the event, given the decades of threats against Rushdie and the bounty on his head, offering more than $3 million for anyone who killed him.
Salman Rushdie, whose novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from Iran’s leader in the 1980s, was stabbed in the neck and abdomen Friday by a man who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York.
Rushdie’s 1988 novel was viewed as blasphemous by many Muslims, Muslim a character as an insult to the Prophet Muhammad, among other objections. Across the Muslim,m world, often-violent protests erupted against Rushdie, who was born in India to a Muslim family.
At least 45 people were killed in riots over the book, including 12 people in Rushdie's hometown of Mumbai. In 1991, a Japanese translator of the book was stabbed to death, and an Italian translator survived a knife attack. In 1993, the book’s Norwegian publisher was shot three times and survived.
The book was banned in Iran, where the late leader Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death. Khomeini died that same year.[AP]