Salman Rushdie, the renegade author of the book ‘the Satanic Verses’, in which he insulted the Prophet Mohammad, was attacked when he was about to give a speech in New York.
It was on this Friday and at an event in New York state that Salman Rushdie, the author whose book ‘the Satanic Verses’ led to an outrage in the Muslim world in the 1980s, was stabbed by an audience. In his infamous book, Rushdie openly insulted the Prophet Mohammad, which at the time created a wave of criticism among Muslims in different countries.
Rushdie was attacked as he was about to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York Friday evening, according to witnesses. Police later said he had been taken to hospital with an apparent stab wound to the neck.
“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 New York State Police said in a statement, adding also that “we’re monitoring the situation, but he’s getting the care he needs at a local hospital,” and that “we will be giving more information on the identity of the perpetrator and the case that’ll be brought in that part of the state.”
Ralph Henry Reese, who was onstage with Rushdie as the interviewer, also received an injury to his face during the attack. He was released from a hospital on Friday afternoon as his injuries were minor. In an emailed statement, he called Rushdie “one of the great defenders of freedom of speech and freedom of creative expression,” then added: “The fact that this attack could occur in the United States is indicative of the threats to writers from many governments and from many individuals and organizations.”
How did the attack happen?
A Sky News reporter, who claims he was present at the scene of the attack, narrated that the attacker, wearing a completely black dress and a black mask, suddenly jumped on the scene and attacked Rushdie; “The first knife hit Rushdie’s neck, he got up and ran for a few seconds. Then he fell down to the left. At first, we thought he bent down to straighten his microphone. Then the people and the security forces rushed towards the stage.”
A picture circulating on social media shows Rushdie’s body on the ground and someone pressing on his stomach. “I hope they can save him because the first stab was right near his vein,” a woman in the video posted on social media can be heard saying.
Informed sources in New York say that Salman Rushdie is now under treatment at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
Rita Landman, an endocrinologist in the audience, who took the stage after the attack to help Rushdie, said that the 75-year-old writer had multiple stab wounds, including one to the right side of the neck, and that there was a pool of blood under his body. But he said he appeared to survive and did not require resuscitation.
However, New York State Police announced early this Saturday that due to his critical conditions, Rushdie went on a surgery Friday night, but it didn’t reveal anything about the outcome of the surgery. Some news websites such as Reuters and the New York Times even claimed they have evidence proving that Rushdie is on a ventilator, unable to speak, and may lose an eye, if he survive at all.