Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator following a stabbing in New York.

Salman Rushdie, a British author whose sacrilegious novels have garnered death threats, was stabbed in the neck and body onstage at a lecture in New York state on Friday and taken to a hospital, according to police.

Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to talk on Friday evening following an attack decried by writers and politicians worldwide as an assault on free expression.

“The news is not good,” his book agent, Andrew Wylie, stated in an email. “Salman will almost certainly lose one eye; his arm’s nerves were severed, and his liver was stabbed and destroyed.”

Rushdie, 75, was being introduced to an audience of hundreds at Western New York’s Chautauqua Institution for a presentation on artistic freedom when a guy rushed to the stage and lunged at the novelist, who has lived with a bounty on his head since the late 1980s.Attendees were stunned when they assisted in wresting the man from Rushdie, who had slumped to the floor. The perpetrator was apprehended by a New York State Police trooper providing security at the event. Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old male from Fairview, New Jersey, was identified as the suspect by police.

“A man went up on stage from I don’t know where and began what appeared to be pounding him on the chest, repetitive fist strikes into his chest and neck,” said Bradley Fisher, who was in the crowd. “People were yelling, crying, and gasping.”

According to authorities, a doctor in the audience assisted Rushdie while emergency personnel arrived. The event’s moderator, Henry Reese, suffered a mild head injury. Police said they were working with federal authorities to figure out what happened. They didn’t say anything about the weapon.

The incident was called “appalling” by White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. “We’re grateful to good folks and first responders for assisting him so quickly,” he tweeted.

Rushdie, born in Bombay, now Mumbai, to a Muslim Kashmiri family before relocating to the United Kingdom, has long suffered death threats for his fourth novel, “The Satanic Verses.”

According to some Muslims, the book contains blasphemous passages. As a result, when it was published in 1988, it was prohibited in numerous countries with large Muslim populations.

A few months later, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or religious decree, ordering Muslims to kill the novelist and anybody involved in the book’s release for blasphemy.

Rushdie went into exile for nearly a decade after describing his novel as “quite light.”

Hitoshi Igarashi, the novel’s Japanese translator, was assassinated in 1991.

The Iranian government said in 1998 that it would no longer support the fatwa, and Rushdie has been living more openly in recent years.

Iranian organizations, some of whom are associated with the government, have offered a million-dollar prize for Rushdie’s assassination. And, as recently as 2019, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Khomeini’s successor as supreme leader, stated that the fatwa was “irrevocable.”

In 2016, Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency and other news outlets contributed funds to enhance the bounty by $600,000. In its story on Friday’s incident, Fars dubbed Rushdie a renegade who “insulted the prophet.”

A suspect has been charged with attempted murder.
Officials said Matar was charged with attempted murder and was being jailed without bond in Chautauqua County on Saturday.

According to the county’s district attorney, Jason Schmidt, he was arraigned late Friday on charges of attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the second degree.

Schmidt stated that state and federal law enforcement authorities, including those in New Jersey, were working to determine whether more charges should be made and to comprehend the planning and preparation that led up to the incident.

Reuters could not immediately determine whether Matar, who purchased a ticket to the performance at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York, had legal representation.

According to NBC New York, a preliminary law enforcement assessment of Matar’s social media accounts revealed that he was sympathetic to Shia extremism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). However, no clear links had been identified.

According to the NBC New York story, Matar was born in California and recently relocated to New Jersey, carrying a phony driver’s license. After being wrestled to the ground by audience members, he was apprehended on the spot by a state policeman.

According to NBC New York, FBI agents went to Matar’s last given residence in Fairview, a Bergen County municipality directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan, on Friday evening.

The New York Police Department declined to comment on the report. The New Jersey police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a powerful faction that controls an economic empire and elite armed and intelligence capabilities that Washington accuses of carrying out a global terrorist campaign.

There has been no official government comment on Rushdie’s assailant in Iran, but some Iranian newspapers have praised him.

According to Ali Tehfe, mayor of Yaroun in southern Lebanon, Matar was the son of a local. According to the mayor, the suspect’s parents immigrated to the United States, where he was born and raised.

Tehfe said he had “no information” about Matar or his parents’ political views when asked if they were involved with or supported the Iran-backed Hezbollah group in Lebanon.

On Saturday, a Hezbollah official told Reuters that the group had no more knowledge about the attack on Rushdie.

‘Not your typical writer.’

Rushdie wrote a memoir in 2012 under the alias “Joseph Anton” describing his cloistered, hidden existence under the fatwa. His second novel, “Midnight’s Children,” earned the Booker Prize. His subsequent work “Victory City” will be released in February.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was outraged that Rushdie was “stabbed while exercising a freedom we should never cease to defend.”

According to the institution’s website, Rushdie appeared at the institution in western New York for a talk about the US providing shelter to artists in exile and “as a haven for freedom of creative expression.”

There were no evident security checks at the Chautauqua Institution, a landmark created in the nineteenth century in the small lakeside town of the same name; employees just examined people’s permits for admittance, visitors said.

“I felt like we needed more protection there since Salman Rushdie is not your typical writer,” said Anour Rahmani, an Algerian writer and human rights campaigner in the crowd. “He’s a writer with a fatwa against him.”

The institution’s president, Michael Hill, stated at a press conference that they had a habit of collaborating with state and local police to provide event security. He promised that the summer program would resume soon.

“Our entire objective is to help people bridge what has been an overly polarised world,” Hill added. “The worst thing Chautauqua could do in light of this tragedy is abandoned its goal, and I don’t think Mr. Rushdie would want that either.”

Rushdie got a US citizen in 2016 and now resides in New York City.

PEN America, an advocacy group for free expression founded by Rushdie, said it was “reeling from shock and outrage” at an unprecedented attack on a writer in the United States.