India-born controversial author Salman Rushdie was attacked and suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck when a man stormed the stage as he was getting ready to deliver a lecture during an event at Chautauqua Institution in Western New York on Friday.
Rushdie, 75, faced Islamist death threats after writing ‘The Satanic Verses’ has won the Booker Prize for his novel ‘Midnight’s Children.’ According to eyewitnesses he was stabbed by a man clad in black while he was being introduced at the event.
He fell through a barrier to the stage and was seen with blood on his hands.
The audience tackled the attacker and Rushdie was then treated onstage following the assault.
“State Police are investigating an attack on author Salman Rushdie prior to a speaking event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY. On August 12, 2022, at about 11 a.m., a male suspect ran up onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer,” New York Police said in a statement.
“Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and was transported by helicopter to an area hospital. His condition is not yet known. The interviewer suffered a minor head injury. A State Trooper assigned to the event immediately took the suspect into custody. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene,” it said.
Rushdie’s fourth book The Satanic Verses in 1988 forced him into hiding for nine years.
A year after the book’s publication, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Rushdie’s execution for publishing the book for its blasphemous content.
Since the 1980s, Rushdie’s writing has led to death threats from Iran, which has offered a $3 million reward for anyone who kills him.
“Thank you to the swift response of @nyspolice & first responders following today’s attack of author Salman Rushdie. Our thoughts are with Salman & his loved ones following this horrific event. I have directed State Police to further assist however needed in the investigation,” said New York State Governor Kathy Hochul.