Author Salman Rushdie Violently Stabbed While On Stage in New York

This past Friday, “The Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie was violently attacked in Chautauqua, New York.

Rushdie was being introduced at a literary festival at Chautauqua Institution, per the Associated Press, when a man ran onto a lecture stage and brutally attacked him.

Author Salman Rushdie Violently Stabbed While On Stage in New York

A male suspect attacked Rushdie and an interviewer — who suffered a minor head injury — on stage, per a press release from state police.

Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and was transported to a hospital by helicopter. His current condition is not known at this time.

“Just witnessed the horrific assassination attempt on #SalmanRushdie’s life. He was stabbed multiple times before [the] attacker was subdued by security,” author Carl LeVan tweeted after the attack.

“Some intrepid members of the audience went on stage. What courage will be expected of us next to defend even the smallest freedoms?” Audience member Rita Landman walked on stage after the attack to offer assistance, per the New York Times.

“She said that Mr. Rushdie 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.”

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The author, who was born in Mumbai and moved to England permanently after attending school at Cambridge, was the subject of a fatwā, or religious ruling, from Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 after his novel The Satanic Verses was released. Many Muslims around the world were outraged by the writing and demonstrations were held.

Due to threats against his life and million-dollar bounties on his head, Rushdie went into hiding for almost a decade.

Rushdie was married at the time to author Marianne Wiggins; they divorced shortly after. Rushdie has been married three other times; first to Clarissa Luard, third to Elizabeth West, and most recently to author and chef Padma Lakshmi from 2004 to 2007. Rushdie is the former president of PEN America. 

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CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement after the attack, “PEN America is reeling from shock and horror at the word of a brutal, premeditated attack on our former President and stalwart ally, Salman Rushdie.”

“We can think of no comparable incident of a public attack on a literary writer on American soil,” the statement continued.

The statement ends by offering well-wishes to Rushdie, “Our thoughts and passions now lie with our dauntless Salman, wishing him a full and speedy recovery. We hope and believe fervently that his essential voice cannot and will not be silenced.”

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