Writer Salman Rushdie was assaulted ahead of an event held south of the city of Buffalo (archives).
British writer Salman Rushdie, whose writing won him numerous awards but also death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was “stabbed in the neck” on Friday morning as #x27;he was about to give a talk in Chautauqua, western New York, police confirmed.
Salman Rushie, 75, was airlifted to the nearest hospital and is still alive, according to New York State Governor Kathy Hochul. He is getting the care he needs.
An Associated Press reporter saw a man rush to the scene at the Chautauqua Institution, south of Buffalo, and begin hitting or stabbing Mr. Rushdie, as the guest speaker was introduced. The writer was pushed or fell to the ground, and his assailant was subdued.
Mr. Rushdie was quickly surrounded by around ten people, who held his legs up, presumably to send more blood to his chest. He lay on the ground on the scene for approximately five minutes, then was transported further away where he was attended to by medical personnel before the helicopter arrived.
His assailant has been arrested and taken into custody, according to New York State Police.
Several people quickly stepped in to take care of Salman Rushdie.
It was absolutely horrible,” said Carl Levan, a witness who was scheduled to attend the conference. According to what he reported to the BBC, Salman Rushdie was stabbed several times.
We are facing an emergency situation. I can't share more information at this point, said a spokesperson for the Chautauqua Institution – which organized the event Salman Rushdie was to attend – when contacted by Reuters.
The writer was scheduled to take part in a debate on Friday devoted to writers and artists who are granted asylum in the United States to protect their freedom and creative expression, according to the website of the Chautauqua Institution.
American politicians quickly began reacting to the attack on social media. This attack is shocking and appalling, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote on Twitter. This is an attack on freedom of expression and thought.
Our hearts go out to Salman's family and loved ones, said Kathy Hochul. I have asked the State Police to continue to assist in the investigation as necessary.
The book The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie, has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it blasphemous. A year later, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late Iranian leader, issued an edict (fatwa) calling for the writer's death.
A bounty of more than three million US dollars was also offered to anyone who would kill Mr. Rushdie.
Iran's government has long since distanced itself from Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa , but the anti-Rushdie sentiment lingers. In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation increased the bounty on his head from 2.8 to 3.3 million.
Mr. Rushdie dismissed that threat at the time, saying there was no evidence anyone was interested in the award. That year he published an autobiographical fatwa book, Joseph Anton.
With information from The Associated Press, BBC, CNN, and Reuters