- 12 Aug 22
The author of The Satanic Verses was set to give a lecture when the attacker entered the stage, allegedly stabbing Rushdie multiple times.
Sir Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic verses alongside other works, has been attacked on stage ahead of a lecture in western New York.
An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man walk onto the stage at the Chautauqua Institution, approach Rushdie and begin punching or stabbing the author as he was being introduced. Rushdie was taken or fell to the floor, and the man was restrained.
The Indian-born British author has been taken to hospital by helicopter, with his condition not yet known.
State police said in a statement they are "investigating an attack on author Salman Rushdie prior to a speaking event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY."
The statement continued: "At about 11am, a male suspect ran up onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer. Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck, and was transported by helicopter to an area hospital.
They added: "The interviewer suffered a minor head injury. A State Trooper assigned to the event immediately took the suspect into custody. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office assisted at the scene."
Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, with many Muslims considering the work blasphemous.
A year after the ban began, Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Sir Salman's death. A three-million-dollar bounty was placed on the author.
Iran’s government has distanced itself from Khomeini’s fatwa, but anti-Rushdie attitudes lingered. Ayatollah Khomeini's successor as Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, further enforced the decree in 2005, saying that the fatwa was still valid and three hardline clerics called on followers to kill Rushdie.
In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from 2.8 million dollars to 3.3 million.Rushdie dismissed the threat at that time, claiming there was no evidence of interest in the reward.
Rushdie wrote about his experience in the third-person memoir Joseph Anton that same year.
The attacker has been taken into custody as we await news on Rushdie's condition.
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