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Salman Rushdie Stabbed in New York: Could Lose an Eye, Attacker Identified

New York state police have identified his attacker, Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man from New Jersey.

Updated
World
2 min read

Video Producer: Mayank Chawla

Video Editor: Shohini Bose

Indian-origin British author Salman Rushdie, who wrote the controversial book The Satanic Verses, was attacked ahead of a lecture in western New York on Friday, 12 August. The 75-year-old author is currently on a ventilator and could lose an eye.

Meanwhile, New York state police have identified his attacker, Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man from New Jersey.

"The motive behind the attack remains unclear," officials said.

According to Associated Press, a reporter witnessed a man hop onto the Chautauqua Institution stage and stab Rushdie during the author's introduction.

Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to his neck and was transported by helicopter to a hospital.

Calling Rushdie "an individual who has spent decades speaking truth to power," New York governor Kathy Hochul said, "We condemn all violence, and we want people to be able to feel (the) freedom to speak and to write truth."

The interviewer, Henry Reese, was attacked as well and is getting the care he needs, she added.

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AP, citing witnesses, claims that Rushdie was helped off the stage before the author's attacker was apprehended. Images shared by the news outlet show visuals of blood spatter on the stage as well as the chair close to where the author was supposed to give his lecture.
The Chautauqua Institution, located close to 90 km from New York City, is renowned for a series of summertime lectures, where Rushdie has spoken earlier as well, NDTV reported.

Reacting to the incident, author and historian William Dalrymple took to Twitter to say that this was "a terrible day for literature, for freedom of speech and authors everywhere."

"Poor poor Salman: I pray he's not hurt and recovers quickly," he said.

'The Satanic Verses' Controversy

Rushdie's book 'The Satanic Verses' has been banned in Iran since 1988. It is also banned in several other countries, including India, which banned it before Iran. In 2015, Congress leader P Chidambaram accepted that the book should not have been banned.

Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie's death. The country had also offered over $3 million in reward for anyone who killed Rushdie.

While the Japanese translator of 'The Satanic Verses', Hitoshi Igarashi, was stabbed to death in 1991, its Italian translator Ettore Capriolo was seriously injured in a stabbing the same year. The Norway publisher of the book William Nygaard was shot three times in an attempted assassination in 1993, but survived.

(With inputs from AP, AFP, PTI, and NDTV.)

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