Filed Under: U.S.

Author Salman Rushdie reportedly stabbed 10-15 times at lecture event

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Author Salman Rushdie was reportedly stabbed at an event in New York state on Friday, according to witness accounts and law enforcement reports. Rushdie, who has faced death threats over his writing, was scheduled to give a lecture at an education center in southwestern New York on Friday morning. At around 11 a.m., a man “ran up onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer” according to a New York Police spokesperson.

An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man confront Rushdie on stage at the Chautauqua Institution and punch or stab him 10 to 15 times as he was being introduced. The 75-year-old author was pushed or fell to the floor, and the man was arrested. Early reports of the incident indicate Rushdie was apparently stabbed in the neck and was flown to a hospital. His condition wasn’t immediately known. According to police, the moderator at the event was also attacked and suffered a minor head injury.

Rushdie’s 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” was viewed as blasphemous by many Muslims. Often-violent protests against Rushdie erupted around the world, including a riot that killed 12 people in Mumbai. The novel 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.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday’s attack. A bounty of over $3 million has also been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie. The death threats and bounty led Rushdie to go into hiding under a British government protection program, which included a round-the-clock armed guard. Rushdie emerged after nine years of seclusion and cautiously resumed more public appearances, maintaining his outspoken criticism of religious extremism overall.

Several leaders have condemned Friday’s attack on Rushdie including, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

“Here is an individual who has spent decades speaking truth to power, someone who has been out there, unafraid, despite the threats that have followed him through his entire adult life,” Hochul said during a press briefing on an unrelated matter on Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

A SCARY SCENE IN WESTERN NEW YORK TODAY — AS FAMOUS AUTHOR SALMAN RUSHDIE WAS STABBED 10 TO 15 TIMES AS HE WAS ABOUT TO GIVE A LECTURE.
HE WAS TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL IN A HELICOPTER — BUT HIS CONDITION WAS NOT IMMEDIATELY CLEAR.
THE MAN WHO STABBED HIM WAS TAKEN INTO POLICE CUSTODY.
RUSHDIE HAS BEEN A PROMINENT SPOKESMAN FOR FREE EXPRESSION — WHOSE WORK HAS BEEN VIEWED AS BLASPHEMOUS BY MANY MUSLIMS.
HIS 19-88 BOOK “THE SATANIC VERSES” WAS BANNED IN IRAN — WITH THE COUNTRY’S LEADER AT THE TIME CALLING FOR RUSHDIE’S DEATH.

Author Salman Rushdie was reportedly stabbed at an event in New York state on Friday, according to witness accounts and law enforcement reports. Rushdie, who has faced death threats over his writing, was scheduled to give a lecture at an education center in southwestern New York on Friday morning. At around 11 a.m., a man “ran up onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer” according to a New York Police spokesperson.

An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man confront Rushdie on stage at the Chautauqua Institution and punch or stab him 10 to 15 times as he was being introduced. The 75-year-old author was pushed or fell to the floor, and the man was arrested. Early reports of the incident indicate Rushdie was apparently stabbed in the neck and was flown to a hospital. His condition wasn’t immediately known. According to police, the moderator at the event was also attacked and suffered a minor head injury.

Rushdie’s 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” was viewed as blasphemous by many Muslims. Often-violent protests against Rushdie erupted around the world, including a riot that killed 12 people in Mumbai. The novel 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.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday’s attack. A bounty of over $3 million has also been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie. The death threats and bounty led Rushdie to go into hiding under a British government protection program, which included a round-the-clock armed guard. Rushdie emerged after nine years of seclusion and cautiously resumed more public appearances, maintaining his outspoken criticism of religious extremism overall.

Several leaders have condemned Friday’s attack on Rushdie including, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

“Here is an individual who has spent decades speaking truth to power, someone who has been out there, unafraid, despite the threats that have followed him through his entire adult life,” Hochul said during a press briefing on an unrelated matter on Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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