Prize winning author Salman Rushdie was the victim of a knife attack on stage at NY literary fair on Friday
The attack came 33 years after Iran issued fatwah on him for novel Satanic Verses
Police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from New Jersey
Authorities believe he was acting alone and have not yet found any indication of his motive
Rushdie, 75, was helped by medical staff after his attacker walked off stage and was apprehended by a state trooper
Those attending the event quickly pinned down his attacker, before he was taken into custody by New York State Police
Rushdie was reportedly stabbed up to fifteen times by Matar who reportedly approached him from behind before rushing the stage
The British author was attending the CHQ 2022 event in Chautauqua, near Buffalo, when he was attacked by an unidentified man
He wrote the Satanic Verses, which resulted in a culture war being sparked in 1988 in Britain, and he was issued a fatwa by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989
Author Salman Rushdie has been airlifted to hospital after being stabbed up to 15 times, including once in the neck, as he prepared to give a speech in upstate New York.
The 75-year-old writer was attacked as he was being introduced to the stage for the CHQ 2022 event in Chautauqua, near Buffalo, on Friday morning.
The prolific author [14 title], was appearing at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York to speak about the importance of the US offering asylum for writers and other artists in exile and providing a home for the freedom of creative expression.
Witnesses claim that Rushdie was seated when the male assailant approached him from behind before rushing the stage. The controversial author was stabbed an estimated ten to fifteen times.
Witnesses claimed that his assailant managed to walk off the stage after the stabbing, before being restrained by some attendees, as some others rushed to assist the bleeding victim.
Emerging images showed the blood spattered wall behind the spot where Rushdie had been seating. Other images showed blood stained chair that he had been sitting on, when he was attacked.
The author was airlifted to a hospital and is undergoing surgery for his injuries, officials say, which include wounds to the neck and abdomen. Authorities have not released more information on his condition, though a doctor at the event described Rushdie’s wounds as “serious, but recoverable. Rushdie also suffered a minor head injury.
Police have identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from New Jersey who purchased a ticket for the event. Authorities believe he was acting alone and have not yet found any indication of his motive.
British-born Booker Prize winning author has lived with death threats a fatwah issued by Iran for his 1988 novel, the Satanic Verses. Sir Salman Rushdie has has lived in the U.S. since 2000 and was today preparing to give a lecture about America being a haven for writers in exile
Governor Kathy Hochul called the attack on Rushdie ‘heartbreaking’ before confirming that he is ‘alive’, during and unrelated press conference.
She added that he is ‘getting the care he needs at a local hospital’, and that a state police trooper ‘stood up and saved his life’ after the attack.
One witness told the New York Times that Rushdie had been stabbed ‘multiple times’ and had been lying in a pool of his own blood.
Rita Landman offered her assistance after the incident, adding that he appeared to be alive and did not receive CPR.
Landman said: ‘People were saying, ‘He has a pulse, he has a pulse he has a pulse.’
Roger Warner of Cleveland, Ohio, was sitting on the front row when the attack took place, adding: ‘He was covered with blood and there was blood running down onto the floor.
‘I just saw blood all around his eyes and running down his cheek.’
Rushdie’s London-based son Zafar, 42, is aware of the incident and his father has been seen being transported by air ambulance after the attack.
Medics rushed to the scene to take the author to hospital to treat his injuries. A Chautauqua Institution spokesperson, where the event was taking place, said: ‘We are dealing with an emergency situation. I can share no further details at this time.’
The authors suspected attacker was pinned down by witnesses and security staff moments after the attack.
Hundreds of people in the audience gasped as the attack unfolded. They were then evacuated as his alleged attacker was taken into custody.
John Bulette, 85, who witnessed the attack said: ‘There was a huge security lapse. That somebody could get that close without any intervention was frightening.’
An usher at the amphitheater claims that the security at the Institution was ‘lax’ and that no additional measures were in place for Rushdie’s visit.
A Chautauqua Institution spokesperson added: ‘We are dealing with an emergency situation. I can share no further details at this time.’
Rabbi Charles Savenor claims that the entire attack lasted around 20 seconds.
He said: ‘This guy ran on to platform and started pounding on Mr. Rushdie. At first you’re like, “What’s going on?’”
And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten.’
The author was knighted in 2007 in Britain ‘for services to literature’ by his friend, then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
His last piece of writing was about an assassination attempt, serializing a novella called The Seventh Wave on Sub Stack, which appeared to focus on spies and assassinations.
Rushdie has previously received death threats for his writing, with his book the Satanic Verses which supposedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed and The Koran.
He wrote the Satanic Verses, which resulted in a culture war being sparked in 1988 in Britain – with protests taking place in the UK along with book burnings.
Pakistan banned the book, and he was issued a fatwa – a death sentence – by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989.
Khomeini called for the death of Rushdie and his publishers, and also called for Muslims to point him out to those who could kill him if they could not themselves.
The fatwa, or ‘spiritual opinion’, followed a wave of book burnings in Britain and rioting across the Muslim world which lead to the deaths of 60 people and hundreds being injured.