Sir Salman Rushdie’s feisty and defiant humor remains intact, his family said after the author was taken off life support with life-changing injuries sustained from multiple stab wounds.
His son Zafar Rushdie issued a statement on behalf of the family on Sunday, while the writer remained in critical condition following the attack on a literary event in upstate New York on Friday.
Mr Rushdie was stabbed about 10 times, including in the neck and abdomen, as he prepared to give a lecture – said prosecutors who charged Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old US citizen, with attempted murder.
The New York State Police said they are working with the FBI to determine a motive for the attack on the author of The Satanic Verses, a novel some Muslims consider blasphemous.
His son said: “My father remains in critical condition in hospital and is receiving comprehensive treatment. We are very relieved that he was weaned off the ventilator and supplemental oxygen yesterday and was able to say a few words.
“Though his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual lively and defiant sense of humor remains intact.”
In his statement, he also thanked those attending the event at the Chautauqua Institution, who took action to ward off Mr Matar.
He said: “We are so grateful to all the viewers who bravely jumped to his defense and provided first aid, along with the police and doctors who attended to him and for the outpouring of love and support from around World.
“We ask for continued patience and privacy while the family gathers at his bedside to support and help him during this time.”
Mr Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, reported that the writer’s “road to recovery” began following surgery and being off the ventilator.
He said Sir Salman, 75, had suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye and was likely to lose the injured eye.
“It will take a long time; The injuries are serious but his condition is going in the right direction,” said Mr Wylie.
Mr Rushdie’s alleged attacker – Mr Matar of New Jersey – has been charged by the Chautauqua County Attorney’s Office with one charge of attempted murder and one charge of second-degree assault.
Mr. Matar was taken to the Chautauqua County Jail on Friday night and appeared in court the following day, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A judge ordered Mr Matar to be held without bail after District Attorney Jason Schmidt told her the suspect had taken steps for the “pre-planned crime” by intentionally putting himself in a position to harm Mr Rushdie by committing a Received an advance ticket for the event and arrive a day early carrying a fake ID.
According to reports, Mr Matar was found with a fake driver’s license in the name of Hassan Mughniyeh.
He is believed to have used the surname of Imad Mughniyeh – the slain senior Hezbollah official who was close to Qassem Soleimani, the slain Quds Force chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
A law enforcement official quoted by NBC said a preliminary check of Matar’s social media shows he has sympathies for the IRGC – which the US has classified as a terrorist organization.
Authorities are investigating these alleged sympathies, but there are no concrete links between Mr Matar and the IRGC, the law enforcement official said.
Public defender Nathaniel Barone complained that it took authorities too long to bring Mr Matar before a judge while he remained “connected to a bank at the state police barracks”.
Henry Reese, who hosted the event where Mr Rushdie was attacked, said “it looked like some kind of bad prank”.
Appearing on CNN with a bandage over his eye, he said: “It had no sense of reality. And then when there was blood behind it [Mr Rushdie]it became real.”
The attack on Mr Rushdie was met with shock and outrage, along with tributes and praise for the award-winning author of The Satanic Verses, who has faced death threats for more than 30 years.
Mr Rushdie, an Indian by birth who has since lived in the UK and US, is known for his surreal and satirical prose style, beginning with his Booker Prize-winning 1981 novel Midnight’s Children, in which he sharply portrayed the then Prime Minister of India criticized. Indira Gandhi.
President Joe Biden condemned the “vicious” attack on Mr Rushdie, saying that “all Americans and people around the world are praying for his health and recovery”.
He added: “I am grateful to the first responders and the brave individuals who jumped into action to help Rushdie and subdue the attacker.
“Salman Rushdie – with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense of story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced – represents fundamental, universal ideals. Truth. Courage. resilience.
“The ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society. And today we reaffirm our commitment to these deeply American values in solidarity with Rushdie and all those who fight for freedom of expression.”
Writer and longtime friend Ian McEwan called Mr Rushdie “an inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists around the world,” and actor and author Kal Penn called him a role model “to an entire generation of artists, especially many of us in the South.” Asian diaspora, to whom he showed incredible warmth”.
Author JK Rowling told her fans that police were involved after a tweet about Sir Salman sparked a death threat on Twitter. Following the attack, Rowling tweeted: “Terrible news. I’m feeling very sick right now. Let him be fine.”
The Satanic Verses drew death threats after its release in 1988, with some Muslims considering a dream sequence based on the life of Prophet Muhammad, among other things, to be blasphemous.
Mr Rushdie’s book had already been banned and burned in India, Pakistan and elsewhere before Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, in 1989 calling for his death.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/north-america/salman-rushdie-off-ventilator-and-his-feisty-humour-remains-intact-after-stabbing-but-injuries-severe-says-family-41912023.html Salman Rushdie is off the ventilator and his “vibrant humor remains intact” after being stabbed, but the injuries are “serious,” the family say