On Friday, August 12, 2022, renowned author Salman Rushdie was stabbed while he was onstage preparing for a lecture in New York. The Booker Prize winner was scheduled to deliver a lecture at an event at the Chautauqua Institution.
According to reports by Associated Press, a man from the audience confronted Rushdie on stage and began punching or stabbing him around 10 to 15 times while the author was being introduced. Rabbi Charles Savenor reported that the sudden attack lasted for around 20 seconds.
"This guy ran on to platform and started pounding on Mr. Rushdie. At first you’re like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten."
Rushdie was transported to a hospital by a helicopter. No updates on his condition have been provided by the state police.
In a press release by the New York State Police, the attack took place at about 11 am, when a male suspect interrupted Salman Rushdie and an interviewer. Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck, while the interviewer sustained a minor head injury.
"On August 12, 2022, at about 11 a.m., a male suspect ran onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer. Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck, and was transported by helicopter to an area hospital. His condition is not yet known...A State Trooper assigned to the event immediately took the suspect into custody."
New York Governor Kathy Hochul confirmed that the author is alive. While participating in a gun safety event, she said,
"It is heartbreaking to learn that within the last hour, a prominent individual, Salman Rushdie was attacked on a stage in western New York just before he was about to give a speech. He is alive. He has been transported, airlifted to safety."
The suspect was immediately apprehended by law enforcement officers. Further information is yet to be released.
After years of threats of violence, Salman Rushdie, infamous for his takes on religion, was stabbed in public on Friday
Salman Rushdie, a prolific but controversial writer, is no stranger to threats of persecution. Since the publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988, Rushdie has been on the receiving end of threats from extremist Islamist groups. Following the book's publication, a fatwa calling for the author's assassination was issued in 1989 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the then supreme leader of Iran.
With the content of the book being perceived by some as blasphemous, it was banned by multiple countries, and Rushdie was forced into hiding due to multiple threats to his life. Both the Japanese translator and the Italian translator of The Satanic Verses were attacked following a global outrage. Hitoshi Igarashi, an assistant professor, unfortunately did not survive the attack.
While the fatwa stopped being formally backed by Iran in 1998, the controversy surrounding the author and the threats to his life persisted.