Salman Rushdie, who was attacked on Friday, is being treated for serious injuries in a New York hospital. He has survived the operation and is being kept on a ventilator, his agent announced on Friday evening.
A man attacked the Indian-born British-American writer with a knife during a podium discussion in front of a large audience. Rushdie was stabbed in the head and stomach, the reporter of the AP news agency who was on the spot reported 10-15 stab wounds. The 75-year-old writer was taken to hospital with liver, nerve and eye injuries, he will probably lose one of his eyes, said Andrew Wylie, Rushdie’s agent. After the incident, the doctor who came to the writer’s aid told the press that, in his opinion, the injuries were serious, but Rushdie could recover from them.
The police identified the attacker as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man living in New Jersey. The motive for his action has not yet been disclosed. The moderator of the podium discussion, Henry Reese, was also injured in the attack. He was treated for facial injuries but was released from the hospital a short time later.
The topic of the panel discussion in New York was the role of the United States in supporting writers fleeing persecution. In 1989, the former religious leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, pronounced an Islamic death sentence, a fatwa, on Salman Rushdie because of his book, The Satanic Verses, published a year earlier and banned in Iran for blasphemy. A multimillion-dollar blood bounty was placed on Rushdie’s head, and he had to hide for years. For years, the Iranian state has been trying to stay away from cases related to the fatwa against Rushdie, but the writer is still considered an enemy in the country, and a semi-state religious foundation raised the blood price from 2.8 million to 3.3 million dollars in 2012.
Photo: HERBERT NEUBAUER / APA / AFP