‘Satanic Verses’ author stabbed onstage

The attack on Salman Rushdie occurred at the Chautauqua Institution, which hosts arts programs in a tranquil lakeside community 70 miles south of Buffalo city

August 14, 2022

NEW YORK (AFP) —- British author Salman Rushdie, whose writings have made him the target of Iranian death threats, was on a ventilator and could lose an eye after he was repeatedly stabbed at a literary event in New York state Friday.

Following the attack just before 11:00 a.m. local time Rushdie was airlifted to the hospital where he needed emergency surgery, and his agent said in a statement obtained by The New York Times that “the news is not good.”

“Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” said agent Andrew Wylie, who added that as of now Rushdie cannot speak.

New York state police identified the suspect involved in the attack as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from Fairfield, New Jersey. A probable motive remained unclear.

Police said Rushdie was stabbed in the neck as well as the abdomen. A number of people rushed to the stage and took the suspect to the ground, before a trooper present at the event arrested him.

A doctor in the audience administered medical care until emergency first responders arrived. An interviewer onstage, 73-year-old Ralph Henry Reese, suffered a facial injury but has been released from the hospital, police said.

The attack occurred at the Chautauqua Institution, which hosts arts programs in a tranquil lakeside community 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Buffalo city.

Rushdie, 75, was propelled into the spotlight with his second novel “Midnight’s Children” in 1981, which won international praise and Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize for its portrayal of post-independence India.

But his 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” brought attention beyond his imagination when it sparked a fatwa, or religious decree, calling for his death by Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.


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