Renowned Indian British novelist Salman Rushdie is in critical condition and faces a long road to recovery, after he survived an assassination attempt Friday morning in western New York. Rushdie was being introduced to the audience at a literary event at the Chautauqua Institution when a man wielding a knife climbed on stage and began stabbing him. The attack left Rushdie hospitalized with severed nerves in one arm, a punctured liver, and other injuries that left him on a ventilator overnight Friday. Rushdie’s agent says he’s likely to lose one eye as a result of the assault.
Twenty-four-year-old Hadi Matar of New Jersey was restrained by audience members and later arrested. He was arraigned on Saturday, where he pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors have not yet established a motive for the attack.
Salman Rushdie is one of the most highly acclaimed writers in the world today. He was forced into hiding and lived underground for many years, after the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa in 1989 calling on Muslims to assassinate Rushdie over his book “The Satanic Verses.” The novel portrays the Qur’an in an unconventional light and models one of its main characters on the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The fatwa was finally lifted by Iran in 1998.
New York Governor Kahty Hochul spoke Sunday from the Chautauqua Institution.
Gov. Kathy Hochul: “And those who are motivated to violence because of calls from foreign leaders, even domestic leaders, calls for violence cannot be tolerated. And so, we’re going to continue. And I want it out there that a man with a knife cannot silence a man with a pen.”