Famous writer Salman Rushdie, who has faced death threats from extremists for decades, was stabbed on Friday Before a scheduled lecture in western New York, according to state police.
New York State Police Major Eugene J. Staniszewski said in a statement that a man stormed the stage at the Chautauqua Institute, about 70 miles south of Buffalo, at around 11 a.m. and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer.
“Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and taken to a regional hospital by helicopter. His condition is not yet known,” the statement said.
Officials said the interviewer suffered minor head injuries.
A state soldier assigned to the incident immediately took the suspect into custody. His name was not released.
The Associated Press said one of its journalists witnessed the attack on Rushdie, known for “The Satanic Verses”, which has been banned in Iran and is considered blasphemous by some Muslims.
NBC News has contacted its representatives for comment.
Rushdie is one of the most acclaimed novelists in contemporary literature, celebrated for his provocative mix of magical realism and historical allegory.
In books such as “Midnight’s Children” and the infamous “The Satanic Verses”, Rushdie dazzled readers with his energetic prose style and impressed critics with his thematic ambition.
“Midnight’s Children”, published in 1981, earned her the coveted Booker Prize.
“The Satanic Verses”, featuring a character based on the Islamic prophet Muhammad, angered the Muslim world when it was published in the late 1980s, prompting protests and calling Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini a fatwa, or prompted to issue a fatwa. Death.
The firearm forced Rushdie into hiding for many years.
Friday’s attack drew a swift response from the political and literary worlds.
“The attack is shocking and horrifying,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y.
“This is an attack on freedom of speech and thought, which are two core values of our country and the Chautauqua Institute,” he said in a statement. “I hope that Mr Rushdie will recover quickly and fully and that the perpetrator will experience full accountability and justice.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement: “He is a man who has spent decades speaking the truth to power. Someone who has stood out fearless despite the threats that have followed him his entire adult life.” .. We stand by it is our commitment to making sure we protest, we condemn what happened, we condemn all violence, and we want people to feel free to speak and write the truth. “
A City of Asylum representative could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
Pen America, a New York City-based non-profit group defending literary freedom, said it was “deeply concerned” about the attack on Rushdie, the group’s former president.
“Pen America is grappling with shock and terror at word of a brutal, pre-planned attack on our former president and staunch ally, Salman Rushdie,” according to a statement From Suzanne Nossel, CEO of Penn America.
“We can think of no comparable incident of a public attack on a literary writer on American soil. Hours before the attack, on Friday morning, Salman asked me to help with placements for Ukrainian writers in need of safe refuge from grave threats. Emailed to me. They face it. Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades, but he has never bowed down or faltered.”
Rushdie published in 2012 “Joseph Anton: A Memoir”, describing his years since the release of the fatwa.
Although it was not immediately clear what the attacker’s motive was, New York-based Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad called the stabbing “barbaric”.
“You can kill us but you can’t kill the idea of writing and fighting for our honor.” he said in a statement, “I condemn the barbaric attack on Salman Rushdie. Having escaped a kidnapping and murder plot in New York, I will not feel safe on American soil until America takes strong action against terror.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Abigail Russ, Matthew Johnson, Christian Santana, Brittany Kubico And Janhvi Bhojwani contribution,