Salman Rushdie, the Indian-born novelist who was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing, was attacked on stage at an event in New York and was apparently stabbed in the neck, according to New York State Police.
A man ran onto the stage at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York state and attacked Rushdie as he was being introduced to give a talk on artistic freedom, a witness said. A state trooper present at the event took the attacker into custody, police said. The attack happened around 11 a.m. local time.
Police have identified his attacker – Hadi Matar, 24, from New Jersey.
Hadi Matar is the prime suspect in the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie. He hails from Fairview, New Jersey and is 24 years old. According to police, Matar jumped onto the stage shortly after Rushdie was introduced and “stabbed him at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen.”
Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from Fairview, New Jersey, has been identified as the attacker who stabbed renowned author Salman Rushdie before his New York speech. He was arrested by the New York State Police moments after the attack.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Rushdie was alive and “receiving the care he needs.” Rushdie, 75, was airlifted to a hospital, but police said his condition is still unknown.
Police did not give a motive for the attack and it was not clear what type of weapon was used. Andrew Wylie, a spokesman for Rushdie, said in an emailed statement that “Salman is in surgery” but had no further details to share.
According to the New York Times, Rita Landman, an endocrinologist, was in the audience and took the stage to offer help. She said the 75-year-old writer had “multiple stab wounds, including one to the right side of his neck, and that there was a pool of blood under his body.” But she said he appeared to be alive and was not receiving CPR, according to the newspaper.
“Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and was airlifted to an area hospital. His condition is still unknown. The interviewer sustained a minor head injury. A state trooper assigned to the event immediately took the suspect into custody. the New York police said in a statement.
Meanwhile, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said: “Our thoughts are with Salman Rushdie and his loved ones in the aftermath of this horrific event. I have directed the state police to further assist the investigation, however”.
Rushdie is one of the most acclaimed novelists in contemporary literature, noted for his provocative mix of magical realism and historical allegory.
In books like “Midnight’s Children” and the infamous “The Satanic Verses,” Rushdie dazzled readers with his spirited prose style and impressed critics with his thematic ambition.
“Midnight’s Children”, published in 1981, earned him the prestigious Booker Prize.
“The Satanic Verses,” starring a character based on the Islamic prophet Muhammad, outraged much of the Muslim world when it was published in the late 1980s, inspiring protests and prompting Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran to issue a fatwa, or edict, calling for his death.
The firestorm forced Rushdie into hiding for many years. Friday’s attack provoked quick reactions in the political and literary world. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the “attack is shocking and appalling.”
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