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Author Salman Rushdie on ventilator after NY stabbing

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. (AP) Salman Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses drew death threats from Irans leader in the 1980s, was stabbed in the neck and abdomen Friday by way of a man who rushed the stage because the author was going to provide a lecture in western NY.

A bloodied Rushdie, 75, was flown to a hospital and underwent surgery. His agent, Andrew Wylie, said the writer was on a ventilator Friday evening, with a damaged liver, severed nerves in his arm and a watch he was more likely to lose.

Police identified the attacker as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, NJ. He was awaiting arraignment following his arrest at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and rereat center where Rushdie was scheduled to speak.

Matar was created in the usa to Lebanese parents who emigrated from Yaroun, a border village in southern Lebanon, Mayor Ali Tehfe told The Associated Press. His birth was ten years following the Satanic Verses first was published.

The motive for the attack was unclear, State Police Maj. Eugene Staniszewski said.

Rushdies 1988 novel was considered blasphemous by many Muslims, who saw a character being an insult to the Prophet Muhammad, among other objections. The book was banned in Iran, where in fact the late leader Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdies death.

Irans theocratic government and its own state-run media assigned no rationale for Fridays assault. In Tehran, some Iranians interviewed Saturday by the AP praised the attack on an author they believe tarnished the Islamic faith, while some worried it could further isolate their country.

An AP reporter witnessed the attacker confront Rushdie on stage and stab or punch him 10 to 15 times because the author had been introduced. Dr. Martin Haskell, your physician who was the type of who rushed to greatly help, described Rushdies wounds as serious but recoverable.

Event moderator Henry Reese, 73, a co-founder of a business that provides residencies to writers facing persecution, was also attacked. Reese suffered a facial injury and was treated and released from the hospital, police said. He and Rushdie decided to discuss america as a refuge for writers along with other artists in exile.


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Circumstances trooper and a county sheriffs deputy were assigned to Rushdies lecture, and state police said the trooper made the arrest. But following the attack, some longtime people to the guts questioned why there wasnt tighter security for the function, given the decades of threats against Rushdie and a bounty on his head offering a lot more than $3 million to anyone who killed him.

Matar, like other visitors, had obtained a pass to enter the Chautauqua Institutions 750-acre grounds, Michael Hill, the institutions president, said.

The suspects attorney, public defender Nathaniel Barone, said he was still gathering information and declined to comment. Matars home was blocked off by authorities.

Rabbi Charles Savenor was on the list of roughly 2,500 people in the audience for Rushdies appearance.

The assailant ran onto the platform and started pounding on Mr. Rushdie. Initially youre like, Whats going on? And it became abundantly clear in a couple of seconds that he had been beaten, Savenor said. He said the attack lasted about 20 seconds.

Another spectator, Kathleen James, said the attacker was dressed up in black, with a black mask.

We thought perhaps it had been section of a stunt showing that theres still lots of controversy for this author. Nonetheless it became evident in a couple of seconds that it wasnt, she said.

Amid gasps, spectators were ushered out from the outdoor amphitheater.

The stabbing reverberated from the tranquil town of Chautauqua to the US, which issued a statement expressing U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres horror and stressing that free expression and opinion shouldn’t be met with violence.

Irans mission to the US didn’t immediately react to a obtain touch upon Fridays attack, which led an evening news bulletin on Iranian state television.

From the White House, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan described the attack as reprehensible and said the Biden administration wished Rushdie an instant recovery.

This act of violence is appalling, Sullivan said in a statement. We have been thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping Mr. Rushdie so quickly following the attack also to law enforcement because of its swift and effective work, that is ongoing.

Rushdie is a prominent spokesman free of charge expression and liberal causes, and the literary world recoiled at what Ian McEwan, a novelist and Rushdies friend, referred to as an assault on freedom of thought and speech.

Salman has been an inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists around the world, McEwan said in a statement. He could be a fiery and generous spirit, a guy of immense talent and courage and he’ll not be deterred.

PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said the business didnt know of any comparable act of violence against a literary writer in the U.S. Rushdie was once president of the group, which advocates for writers and free expression.

Following the publication of The Satanic Verses, often-violent protests erupted over the Muslim world against Rushdie, who was simply born in India to a Muslim family.

At the very least 45 individuals were killed in riots on the book, including 12 people in Rushdies hometown of Mumbai. In 1991, a Japanese translator of the book was stabbed to death and an Italian translator survived a knife attack. In 1993, the books Norwegian publisher was shot 3 x and survived.

Khomeini died exactly the same year he issued the fatwa calling for Rushdies death. Irans current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, never issued a fatwa of their own withdrawing the edict, though Iran recently hasnt centered on the writer.

The death threats and bounty led Rushdie to get into hiding under a British government protection program, including a round-the-clock armed guard. Rushdie emerged after nine years of seclusion and cautiously resumed more public appearances, maintaining his outspoken criticism of religious extremism overall.

In 2012, Rushdie published a memoir, Joseph Anton, concerning the fatwa. The title originated from the pseudonym Rushdie used during hiding. He said throughout a NY talk exactly the same year the memoir arrived that terrorism really was the art of fear.

The only method it is possible to defeat it really is by deciding never to hesitate, he said.

Anti-Rushdie sentiment has lingered long after Khomeinis decree. The Index on Censorship, a business promoting free expression, said money grew up to improve the reward for his killing as recently as 2016.

An AP journalist who visited the Tehran office of the 15 Khordad Foundation, which set up the millions for the bounty on Rushdie, found it closed Friday night on the Iranian weekend. Nobody answered calls to its listed phone number.

Rushdie rose to prominence along with his Booker Prize-winning 1981 novel Midnights Children, but his name became known all over the world following the Satanic Verses.

Widely thought to be among Britains finest living writers, Rushdie was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008 and earlier this season was made an associate of the Order of the Companions of Honor, a royal accolade for those who have made a significant contribution to the arts, science or public life.

Organizers of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which opens Saturday in Scotland and is among the worlds largest literary gatherings, are encouraging guest authors to learn a sentence from Rushdies just work at the beginning of their events.

We have been inspired by his courage and so are thinking about him as of this difficult time, festival director Nick Barley said. This tragedy is really a painful reminder of the fragility of things we hold dear and a proactive approach: We wont be intimidated by those that would use violence instead of words.

The Chautauqua Institution, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) southwest of Buffalo in a rural corner of NY, has served for greater than a century as a location for reflection and spiritual guidance. Visitors dont go through metal detectors or undergo bag checks. A lot of people leave the doors with their century-old cottages unlocked during the night.

The guts is known because of its summertime lecture series, where Rushdie has spoken before.

At an evening vigil, a couple of hundred residents and visitors gathered for prayer, music and an extended moment of silence.

Hate cant win, one man shouted.


Associated Press journalists John Wawrow in Chautauqua; Jennifer Peltz, Hillel Italie and Edith Lederer in NEW YORK; Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, NY; Michael Hill in Albany, NY; Ted Shaffrey in Fairview, NJ; Nasser Karimi and Mehdi Fattahi in Tehran, Iran; Kareem Chehayeb in Beirut; and Jill Lawless in London contributed to the report.

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