Author Salman Rushdie undergoes surgery after being stabbed while on stage in New York; suspect identified

Salman Rushdieauthor whose writing drew death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was stabbed Friday as he was about to give a lecture in western New York, authorities said. The 75-year-old perpetrator was stabbed at least once in the neck and once in the abdomen, officials said during a news conference Friday evening.

Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, was identified as the suspect in the stabbing, New York State Police Maj. Eugene J. Staniszewski told reporters. He had a pass to enter the venue, as did others in the audience, officials said.

Matar was arrested by a state trooper assigned to the event, he added.

Authorities believe he acted alone and are working to determine a motive for the attack.

Assault by Salman Rushdie

Author Salman Rushdie is treated after being attacked during a lecture Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York.

Joshua Goodman / AP

An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and begin attacking Rushdie as he was being introduced. Rushdie was pushed or fell to the ground, and the man was restrained.

Rushdie was quickly surrounded by a small group of people who lifted his legs, presumably to send more blood to his chest. Officials said a doctor who was in the audience helped tend to Rushdie while they waited for EMTs to arrive.

Rushdie’s agent confirmed on Friday afternoon that he had undergone surgery. During the 5 p.m. press conference, Staniszewski said he was still in surgery. His current condition was not immediately known.

Staniszewski said the suspect also attacked another speaker, who suffered a minor facial injury. He was taken to a hospital and has been released, Staniszewski said.

A video of what is said to be the aftermath of the attack was uploaded to social media.

New video shows the chaos moments after notable author Salman Rushdie was stabbed. Police units were on the scene within seconds.

Video via MentNews pic.twitter.com/po8x0mrpj9

— Moshe Schwartz (@YWNReporter) August 12, 2022

Hundreds of people in the audience gasped as they watched the attack and were later evacuated.

“Our thoughts are with Salman and his loved ones following this horrific event,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said. he tweeted after the attack

Rushdie attended the event to discuss “the United States as an asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for creative freedom of expression,” according to the Chautauqua Institution.

“We are dealing with an emergency situation. I cannot share any further details at this time,” a spokesman for the Chautauqua institution told Reuters.

Video posted on Twitter appeared to show Rushdie being transferred to a medical helicopter.

Salman Rushdie charged Medevac. Very dark scene here at Chautauqua pic.twitter.com/c6E9LJth7O

— Horatio Gates (@HoratioGates3) August 12, 2022

Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it blasphemous. A year later, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death.

Iran’s government has long since distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment remained. In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation increased the reward for Rushdie from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.

Rushdie rejected this threat at the time, saying there was “no evidence” that people were interested in the reward. That year, Rushdie published a memoir, “Joseph Anton,” about his experience living under the fatwa.


Officials provide update after Salman Rushdie stabbed at New York event

1:20 p.m

In 2015Rushdie discussed the murders of 12 people in the satirical Paris magazine Charlie Hebdosaying that the right to freedom of expression is absolute or else it is not free.

“Both of us John F. Kennedy i Nelson Mandela Use the same three-word phrase that in my mind says it all, which is, “Freedom is indivisible,” he said. “You can’t cut it, otherwise it stops being freedom. You may not like Charlie Hebdo. … But the fact that they don’t like it has nothing to do with their right to speak.”

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