Author Salman Rushdie attacked at New York event

·Senior Writer
·2 min read

Author Salman Rushdie was attacked on stage at an event in western New York on Friday morning.

According to police, Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and was transported by helicopter to an area hospital. His condition was not immediately known, but police said Rushdie was undergoing surgery as of Friday evening.

Authorities identified Hadi Matar, 24, of New Jersey, as the suspect accused of carrying out the attack.

Rushdie was scheduled to speak at the Chautauqua Institution as part of a lecture series on writers exiled under threat of persecution. Police said Matar had a pass to access the grounds.

According to an Associated Press reporter who was at the event, Rushdie was attacked by a man who hopped on stage while he was being introduced.

The man began “stabbing or punching” Rushdie, who fell to the floor. The suspect was then restrained and taken into custody by a state trooper.

Photos and video from the scene show staffers tending to Rushdie, who was later helped off stage.

Salman Rushdie receives medical treatment after he was attacked on stage in Chautauqua, N.Y.
Salman Rushdie receives medical treatment after he was attacked on stage in Chautauqua, N.Y., on Friday. (Joshua Goodman/AP)

Henry Reese, the founder of a literary nonprofit who was appearing onstage alongside Rushdie, suffered “a minor head injury,” police said.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul condemned the attack on Rushdie, who she said “has spent decades speaking truth to power.”

“We want people to feel that freedom to speak and to write truth,” she said. “And I’ll continue to protect that every single day as your governor.”

Hochul also commended the state police officer who “stood up and saved” Rushdie’s life.

Salman Rushdie
Rushdie was attacked on Friday as he was about to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York. (Star Max/IPX via AP)

The 75-year-old Indian-born novelist has been the target of death threats and assassination attempts since the 1988 publication of “The Satanic Verses,” a book that some Muslims consider offensive because of its depiction of Islam.

The book was banned in Iran. The following year, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death.

A bounty of over $3 million was offered, and Rushdie went into hiding for nearly a decade.

In 2012, Rushdie published a memoir about the fatwa entitled “Joseph Anton” — the pseudonym he used while in hiding.