Writer Salman Rushdie, whose writings have made him the target of Iranian death threats, was on a ventilator and could lose an eye on Friday after being repeatedly stabbed at a literary event in New York state.
Just before 11 a.m. local time after the attack, 75-year-old Rushdie was taken to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. His agent said in a statement to The New York Times that “the news is not good.”
“Salman is likely to lose one eye; The veins in his arm were torn; And his liver was stabbed and damaged,” said agent Andrew Wyllie, who said Rushdie was not able to speak.
New York State Police have identified the suspect involved in the attack as 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairfield, New Jersey. He was arrested on the spot and was awaiting arrest, and police said they believed he was acting alone. Police said the motive for the attack was not clear.
a law enforcement officer told NBC News That, according to a review of his social media activity, the suspect was sympathetic to Shia Muslim extremists and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. There were no direct links to the IRGC.
Local police and the FBI were investigating and closed the road around Pea’s New Jersey home.
A bag found at the site of the attack is believed to have belonged to the attacker and was checked by the bomb squad. Police said police were working to obtain warrants to search the bag and some electronic devices.
The attack took place at the Chautauqua Institution, which organizes arts events in a quiet lakeside community 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of downtown Buffalo in western New York state.
Police said Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and stomach. Several people reached the stage and escorted the suspect to the ground, before a jawan present at the event arrested him.
An Associated Press reporter noticed a man facing Rushdie on stage and punched or stabbed him 10 to 15 times as he was introduced. The writer was pushed or fell to the floor, and the person was arrested.
A doctor in the audience arranged for medical care until emergency first responders arrived. Police said one interviewer, 73-year-old Ralph Henry Reese, suffered a face injury, but was released from the hospital.
Dr. Martin Haskell, a physician who rushed to help, described Rushdie’s wounds as “serious but treatable”.
American University politics professor Carl Levan, who attended the event, told AFP he saw the suspect fleeing to the stage where Rushdie was sitting and “knife him repeatedly and viciously.”
Levan, a Chautauqua regular, said the suspect was “trying to stab him as many times as possible before subduing him,” adding that he believed the man had “killed Rushdie.” was trying”.
“The crowd was gasping for panic and panic,” the professor said.
Levan said he was “shaken” by the incident, adding that he considered Chautauqua a safe place of creative freedom.
“To know it happened here, and to see it – it was horrifying,” he said. “What I saw today was the essence of intolerance.”
Another witness, John Stein, told ABC that the assailant “stabbed the right side of the head, the right side of the neck. And there was blood…
Rushdie, 75, was thrust into the limelight in 1981 with his second novel, “Midnight’s Children”, which won international acclaim and Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize for its portrayal of post-independence India.
But his 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” attracted attention beyond his imagination when it issued a fatwa, or religious edict, by Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini calling for his death.
The novel was considered by some Muslims to be an insult to the Prophet Muhammad.
Rushdie, who was born in India to non-practicing Muslims and today identifies as an atheist, was forced to go underground after a bounty of more than $3 million was placed on his head. which still remains today.
He was provided police protection by the government in Britain, where he was in school and where he made his home, the following murder or attempted murder from some of their translators and publishers.
They have spent almost a decade unable to hide, frequent homes, and tell their children where they live.
Rushdie began to emerge from his life only in the late 1990s when Iran said it would not support his assassination.
Iran’s current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has never issued a fatwa retracting his own fatwa, although in recent years Iran has not focused on the author.
Now living in New York, Rushdie is an advocate of free speech, launching a strong defense of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, especially after Islamists shot his staff in Paris in 2015.
The magazine published pictures of Mohammed which drew sharp reactions from Muslims around the world.
Threats and boycotts against literary programs Rushdie attended, and his knighthood in 2007 led to protests in Iran and Pakistan, where a government minister said the award justified suicide bombings.
The fatwa failed to suppress Rushdie’s writings and inspired his memoir “Joseph Anton”, which was named after his surname while disguised and written in the third person.
“Midnight’s Children”—which runs to more than 600 pages—has been adapted for the stage and silver screen, and their books have been translated into more than 40 languages.