Salman Rushdie, the target of a 1989 fatwa for his book The Satanic Verses, was stabbed in the neck by a man at a conference in upstate New York on Friday, US police said.
His condition is “not known at this time,” the New York State Police (NYSP) said, but Gov. Kathy Hochul said the British author is “alive.”
At around 11:00 a.m. (5:00 p.m. in Switzerland) “a suspect rushed onto the stage (of an amphitheater) and attacked (Salman) Rushdie and an interviewer. Salman Rushdie suffered an apparent neck injury after being stabbed and he was helicoptered to the hospital,” the NYSP said in a statement, adding that the attacker was immediately arrested and taken into custody.
At a news conference, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul hailed “someone who has spent decades speaking truth to those in power … who has fearlessly exposed himself despite the threats that have dogged him throughout his adult life.”
Mr. Rushdie, 75, was preparing to give a literary talk at an amphitheater in Chautauqua, in northwestern New York near Lake Erie, which separates the United States from Canada. According to the police, the person who was supposed to give the writer the floor was also “slightly injured in the head”.
The Chautauqua Institution, a cultural center, said it was “coordinating with law enforcement and emergency services to respond to the public following today’s attack on Salman Rushdie.”
Witnesses in the amphitheater, including journalists, said on Twitter the room was quickly “evacuated.” Photos and videos posted to social media show spectators rushing to the stage to help someone who was seen on the ground, surrounded by several people.
Born in Bombay on June 19, 1947, two months before India’s independence, Salman Rushdie ignited the Muslim world with the publication of the “Satanic Verses,” prompting Iranian Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini to issue a “fatwa” in 1989, ” in which he called for his assassination.
The author was therefore forced to live in hiding and under police protection, going from cache to cache. He has to face an immense loneliness, aggravated by the break with his wife, the American writer Marianne Wiggins, to whom “The Verses…” is dedicated.
Based in New York for a few years, Salman Rushdie — raised eyebrows, heavy eyelids, bald head, glasses, and beard — had resumed an almost normal life while continuing to defend satire and irreverence in his books.
But the “fatwa” was never rescinded and many of his book’s translators were injured in attacks and even killed, such as the Japanese Hitoshi Igarashi, the victim of multiple stab wounds in 1991.
Boris Johnson ‘appalled’
“Thirty years have passed,” he said, however, in the fall of 2018. “Everything is fine now. I was 41 then (the fatwa), I’m 71 now. We live in a world where the problems no longer exist.” Concerns change very quickly. There are now many other reasons to be afraid of killing other people…”.
Knighted by the Queen of England in 2007, to the great displeasure of Muslim extremists, this master of magical realism, a man of immense culture who describes himself as apolitical, has written around fifteen novels, stories for young people, short stories and trials in English .
Britain’s Prime Minister said he was “appalled” by Friday’s attack. I am “appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie was stabbed to death while exercising a right we should never stop defending,” Boris Johnson tweeted, alluding to freedom of expression.
The association that defends writers around the world, PEN America, said it was “shocked and appalled” its President Suzanne Nossel revealed Mr Rushdie wrote to her on Friday morning to offer his “help to Ukrainian writers”.
This article was published automatically. Sources: ats/afp
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