Salman Rushdie Stabbed Multiple Times During NY Event

August 12, 2022
Author Salman Rushdie at the Blue Sofa at the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair (Photo by Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images)

Author Salman Rushdie was stabbed 10-15 times during an event in New York and his condition is currently unknown.

Rushdie, 75, was being introduced at a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in southwest New York when the assailant charged the stage and attacked the novelist.

“A man jumped up on the stage from I don’t know where and started what looked like beating him on the chest, repeated fist strokes into his chest and neck,” an audience member told Reuters. “People were screaming and crying out and gasping.”

The moderator, Henry Reese, also reportedly suffered a minor head injury. The suspected attacker has been arrested and is currently in custody; he has reportedly been identified as Hadi Matar, 24, from New Jersey.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said that Rushdie is still alive; the author is currently in the hospital.

Suzanne Nossel, who heads PEN America, said in a statement, “We can think of no comparable incident of a public violent attack on a literary writer on American soil. We hope and believe fervently that his essential voice cannot and will not be silenced.”

Though the assailant’s motive is unknown, the Iranian government has a fatwa (legal ruling based on Islamic law) against Rushdie calling for his killing after the author wrote “The Satanic Verses” in 1988. The book has been viewed as blasphemous by members of the Islamic community and it is banned in several Islamic countries. Rushdie was raised in a Muslim household in Mumbai, India.

Jewish groups noted that the Rushdie stabbing reflects the danger of the Iranian regime.

“Tehran celebrating the stabbing of @SalmanRushdie highlights the urgent need to acknowledge the threat of #Iran,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted. “Rushdie has received death threats from the Iranian regime for decades. This is further evidence of Iran’s malign influence in the US and abroad.”

“If the attack on Salman Rushdie is connected to the Iranian ‘fatwa’ calling for his execution, it is one more link in the chain of murder and attempted murder that originates in Tehran under the mullahs,” the American Jewish Committee said in a statement to the Journal. “For decades, we’ve seen hard evidence of Iran’s sponsorship of terror, from the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut to the Israeli Embassy and AMIA bombings in Buenos Aires, the Mykonos restaurant killings in Berlin, and just in recent days the thwarted attack against Iranian women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad, and the assassination plot against former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Now, Salman Rushdie has fallen victim to the violence and intolerance Iran inspires and encourages. We must all condemn egregious attacks like this, as we wish him a swift recovery.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted that they are “outraged but not shocked that renowned author and free speech icon #SalmanRushdie has been violently attacked. Pray for him. Iranian regime offered $3 million to kill him. @POTUS must end talks with Tehran as it tries to assassinate Americans.”

“The Twitter accounts of Iran’s Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] have been used to threaten people like Salman Rushdie and spread antisemitism,” journalist Yashar Ali tweeted. “Iran bans Twitter for its citizens and yet Iranian officials have Twitter accounts. Twitter must permanently ban the Supreme Leader’s accounts.”

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