A man has been arrested after Sir Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage in New York state.
The 75-year-old British-Indian author, whose writings led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was preparing to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institute when the incident occurred.
Sir Salman suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and was airlifted to hospital by helicopter where his condition remained unclear, state police said.
His agent, Andrew Wylie, said the writer was undergoing surgery but had no other details at this time, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Photos from the AP show him lying on his back, legs in the air, and a first responder bending over him.
Sir Salman’s book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it blasphemous, and its publication prompted then-Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini to make a statement. called for his execution.
Sir Salman is scheduled to speak to Henry Reese, from the organization City of Asylum, a residency program for writers living in exile under the threat of persecution.
They discussed America’s role as a refuge for other writers and artists in exile and as a home for the freedom of creative expression.
A video posted to Twitter by an Associated Press reporter shows a man in black being led off the stage.
Video of the day
A statement from the New York State Police said: “At approximately 11 a.m. on August 12, 2022, a male suspect ran onto the stage and assaulted Rushdie and an interviewer.
“Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck, and was airlifted by helicopter to an area hospital. His condition is still unknown.
“The interviewer suffered a minor head injury. A State Trooper assigned to the event immediately apprehended the suspect. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office provided assistance at the scene. More information will be published as it becomes available. “
New York Governor Kathy Hochul told a news conference that a state police officer saved his life and that the operator, who she said was also attacked.
She added: “He is alive, he has been taken to safety. But here is an individual who has spent decades telling the truth before power, someone out there fearless, despite the threats that have followed him his entire adult life. “
The Chautauqua Institute, which hosted the lecture, tweeted about the incident, writing: “We ask for your prayers for Salman Rushdie and Henry Reese, and patience as we fully focus on coordinating with officials. police post after a tragic incident at the Amphitheater today.
“All shows are canceled for the rest of the day. Please refer to the NYS Police statement. “
Jeremy Genovese, 68, from Beachwood, Ohio, a retired academic from Cleveland State University, told the PA news agency that he arrived at the lecture hall when it was being evacuated and people were “running out”.
“People were shocked, many people were in tears,” he said. Chautauqua has always prided itself on being a place where people can engage in civil dialogue.
“The amphitheater is a large outdoor venue where people have been giving lectures since the late 1800s. You need a ticket to enter the courtyard but it’s not too difficult to get in. “
Sir Salman Rushdie’s publisher Penguin Random House said it was “deeply shocked and appalled” by the incident.
Penguin Random House chief executive Markus Dohle said in a statement to the PA news agency: “We were shocked and horrified to hear of the attack on Salman Rushdie while he was giving a speech. at the Chautauqua Institute in New York.
“We condemn this violent attack in public, and our thoughts are with Salman and his family at this sad time.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter he was “appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie was stabbed while exercising a right that we should never stop protecting”.
He added: “My thoughts are with his loved ones right now. We all hope he’s okay.”
Sir Salman was previously the president of PEN America, which celebrates freedom of speech and speech, and its chief executive Suzanne Nossel was among those responding to the attack.
“PEN America is reeling with shock and horror upon hearing of a brutal, premeditated attack on our former President and staunch ally, Salman Rushdie,” she said.
She added: “Our thoughts and passion now rest with our unyielding Salman, wishing him a full and speedy recovery. We hope and fervently believe that his essential voice cannot and will not be silenced. “
Sir Salman began his writing career in the early 1970s with two unsuccessful books, before Midnight Children, about the birth of India, which won the Booker Prize in 1981.
It went on to bring him worldwide fame and was named “Best Book Writer” on the 25th anniversary of the literary award.
The author has lived in hiding for many years in London under the protection program of the British Government after Ayatollah Khomeini issued a call for his execution to The Satanic Verses.
Finally, in 1998, the Iranian government withdrew support for the death penalty and Sir Salman gradually returned to public life, even appearing as himself in the 2001 hit film Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Index on Censorship, an organization that promotes freedom of expression, said the money had been raised to increase the reward for the most recent killing of Sir Salman in 2016, stressing that his death still remains. original value.
His other works include Moor’s Last Sight and Shalimar The Clown, long listed for Booker.
He was knighted in 2008 and earlier this year was made a member of the Honorary Companion Order as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honors.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/novelist-salman-rushdie-stabbed-on-lecture-stage-in-new-york-41908575.html Novelist Salman Rushdie stabbed on stage in New York speech