Indian-Born Author, Salman Rushdie, Who Spent Years In Hiding, Stabbed In New York

NEW YORK CITY - During his introduction at New York's Chautauqua Institution, where he would be giving a lecture to an audience about artistic freedom, Salman Rushdie, a writer who had spent some time in hiding after receiving death threats, was stabbed in multiple places on his body, on August 12th. The act has been seen by the world community as an attack on artistic expressive freedom.


Rushdie who is a U.S. citizen as of 2016 and a resident of NYC, was airlifted to a hospital where he underwent several hours of surgery. By the evening, he was unable to speak, on a ventilator, and only able to see out of one eye.

Artistic freedom is a passion for Rushdie, as he spent many years in hiding and protected services in the country of the United Kingdom for death threats with a bounty of $3 million, not only on his head but also on anyone associated with the books publishing, issued by Ruhollah Khomeini, in Iran, for his book The Satanic Verses, c.1989, a mystical fiction, which was viewed as a mockery of Islam by the Muslim world, according to Fox News.

Rushdie's publishing agent, Andrew Wylie stated in an email that Rushdie was stabbed in his liver which now has damage, several severed nerves in his arm, and will probably lose an eye, as a result of the attack, according to Reuters.

The attacker, a young 24-year-old Hadi Matar, a resident of Fairview, New Jersey, rushed the stage, during the introduction, and began stabbing Rushdie in a repetitive motion, as people in the audience rushed behind him and wrestled him to the ground and subdued him.

People in the audience stated that there were not any security checks coming into the Chautauqua Institution. There was only a small staff who were checking individual admission tickets.

According to the Associated Press, a state policeman and county sheriff's deputy were assigned as security to the event, as the institution itself was founded as a place for writers who were up against persecution. After the attack, the audience began to question, due to the profile and mission of the institution, why were there not more security measures present.

Another writer who was in the audience, Anour Rahmani from Algeria, who also has a fatwa against him, said this:

"I felt like we needed to have more protection there because Salman Rushdie is not a usual writer."

A doctor, who happened to be in the audience, Dr. Martin Haskell, was able to begin working on Rushdie until first responders arrived on the scene. Dr. Haskell termed Rushdie's wounds as serious but survivable. Henry Reese, the man who was introducing Rushdie and moderating the event, also suffered injuries to his head but were termed as minor.

The NY State Police has officially stated that the motive of the attack remains unclear at this time, and are investigating.

The book which prompted the fatwa ( religious edict ) from the Ayatollah for his assassination, was banned in countries throughout the Muslim world, shortly after being published, for containing 'blasphemous passages'.

Though the majority of the world viewed the book as rather mild, Rushdie was forced into hiding for nearly ten years. A Japanese translator who translated the book, Hitoshi Igarashi, was assassinated in 1991 and forty-five people were killed in riots upon the book's publication in India, where Rushdie is originally from.

The fatwa was removed by the Iranian government in 1998 and Rushdie was able to come out of hiding, though in 2019, the Ayatollah stated that the fatwa was non-revocable, as not only the Iranian government, but Iranian organizations also raised millions of dollars for the assassination on Rushdie. One such organization was Iran's state-run Fars News Agency, which increased the bounty by an additional $600,000 in 2016.

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