Salman Rushdie on Ventilator After New York Stabbing; Iran Media Praises Attacker | Updates – News18

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Author Salman Rushdie who was stabbed at a literary event in New York was on a ventilator and could lose an eye, his agent said on Saturday. The 75-year-old who won the Booker Prize for his novel “Midnight’s Children”, was stabbed in the neck and torso by a man on stage on Friday and had to be airlifted to hospital for emergency surgery 33 years after an Iranian fatwa ordered his killing for his controversial novel “The Satanic Verses”.

Here’s all we know about the latest updates on the attack on Salman Rushdie:

  • Salman Rushdie’s agent Andrew Wylie said in a statement obtained by The New York Times that “the news is not good.” “Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” said Wylie, who added that Rushdie could not speak.
  • In an interview conducted just weeks before Salman Rushdie was stabbed, he told a German magazine that his life was now “relatively normal”, after having lived in hiding for years because of death threats. Rushdie talked in the interview with Germany’s Stern magazine about the threats he sees to U.S. democracy. He also called himself an optimist, and noted that the fatwa, a religious edict issued in Iran in 1989 that called on Muslims around the world to kill him for blasphemy, was pronounced long ago.
  • New York police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey, who had bought a pass to the event at the Chautauqua Institution. No motive has been established for the attack.
  • Matar has since been charged with attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the second degree, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said.
  • Several hardline Iranian newspapers hailed the attack on Salman Rushdie and poured praises for the attacker. Kayhan newspaper, whose editor-in-chief is appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote, “A thousand bravos … to the brave and dutiful person who attacked the apostate and evil Salman Rushdie in New York,” adding, “The hand of the man who tore the neck of God’s enemy must be kissed”. Another hardline Vatan Emrooz newspaper read: “Knife in Salman Rushdie’s neck”. The Khorasan daily carried the headline: “Satan on the way to hell”.
  • The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an opposition group outlawed in Iran, said that the attack on Salman Rushdie in New York had taken place at the “instigation” of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s fatwa over the author’s novel “The Satanic Verses” in 1989. “Ali Khamenei and other leaders of the clerical regime had always vowed to implement this anti-Islamic fatwa in the past 34 years,” it said in a statement. New York state police identified the suspected attacker as Hadi Matar, 24, adding the motive for the stabbing remains unclear. He was detained in the immediate aftermath.
  • French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose 12 staff members were gunned down in 2015 over cartoons about Prophet Mohammed considered blasphemous by many Muslims, said nothing justified the stabbing of Salman Rushdie. The magazine’s managing editor, known as Riss and a survivor of the 2015 attack, said the Rushdie’s assailant was probably a practicising Muslim and slammed the “little and mediocre spiritual heads who are intellectually nil and culturally ignorant”.
  • Global leaders voiced anger over the attack, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying the author “embodied freedom” and that “his battle is ours, a universal one. British leader Boris Johnson said he was “appalled,” sending thoughts to Rushdie’s loved ones and praising the author for “exercising a right we should never cease to defend.” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called it a “reprehensible attack,” adding that “all of us in the Biden-Harris Administration are praying for his speedy recovery.
  • Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, senior director of literary programs at the writers organization PEN America, where Salman  Rushdie previously served as president, said that in four years of working closely with the author to put on festivals and other events, he never once requested a security detail. “I’m not aware that he’s ever asked us to provide additional security, and I’m also not aware that he ever brought a security detail with him,” she said.
  • Salman Rushdie, born in India to non-practicing Muslims identifies as an atheist, was forced to go underground after Iran’s first supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa over his 1988 book “The Satanic Verses”. The novel was considered by some Muslims as disrespectful of Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.
  • After Salman Rushdie moved to Britain from Bombay, now Mumbai, he was granted police protection by the government, where he was at school and where he made his home, following the murder or attempted murder of his translators and publishers. He spent nearly a decade in hiding, moving houses repeatedly and being unable to tell even his children where he lived. Rushdie only began to emerge from his life on the run in the late 1990s after Iran in 1998 said it would not support his assassination. He became a US citizen in 2016 and lives in New York City.
  • Congress leader and author Shashi Tharoor on Saturday said he was “utterly horrified” by the stabbing of novelist Salman Rushdie, “Utterly horrified & shocked by the stabbing of @SalmanRushdie. Wish him a speedy & complete recovery from his wounds, even though, with a sinking heart, I recognize that life for him can never be the same again,” Tharoor tweeted.  “A sad day, worse if creative expression can no longer be free & open,” he said.
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar reacted to the the attack on author Salman Rushdie in New York. “I also read about it. This is something that the whole world has noticed and the whole world has reacted to such an attack,” he said.
  • Hindi film celebrities such as Javed Akhtar, Kangana Ranaut and Swara Bhasker have criticised the attack on Salman Rushdie. Akhtar said he hopes a strong action will be taken against the attacker. “I condemn the barbaric attack on Salman Rushdie by some fanatic,” he said.  Ranaut said she is shocked beyond words. “Another day, another appalling act by jihadis. The Satanic Verses is one of the greatest book of it’s time… I am shaken beyond words… Appalling (sic),” the actor wrote. Bhasker called the attack “shameful” and “dastardly”.

(With inputs from agencies)

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