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Salman Rushdie stabbed in neck at New York event

Author Salman Rushdie is helped by people after he was stabbed on stage before his scheduled speech at the Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York, U.S., August 12, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Indian-born author, Salman Rushdie who Iran ordered dead in 1989 because of his work, was attacked on stage at an event in New York and seemed to be stabbed in the neck, the police say.

Reuters reports that as Rushdie was being presented on stage at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York state, a man allegedly rushed to the podium and assaulted him an eyewitness confirmed.

New York State Police said that an on-site state trooper apprehended the attacker and took him into custody.

Mr Rushdie was taken by helicopter to a hospital but his condition was not yet known, police said.

“We are dealing with an emergency situation,” a Chautauqua Institution spokesperson said when contacted by Reuters.

Author Salman Rushdie arrives for the PEN New England’s Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. September 19, 2016. Photo: Reuters

Mr Rushdie, who was raised in a Muslim household in India, faced death threats for his fourth novel, “The Satanic Verses”, which some Muslims said contained blasphemous passages.

The novel was banned in many countries upon its 1988 publication.

A year later, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Iran’s supreme leader, pronounced a fatwa, or religious edict, calling upon Muslims to kill the novelist for blasphemy.

The author spent a long time hiding but recently lived freely when the Iranian government eventually reversed its decision. However, Iranian organisations raised millions of dollars in bounty for Mr Rushdie’s murder.

According to the Chautauqua Institution’s website, Mr Rushdie was there to participate in a debate about how the United States serves as a haven for authors and artists who are in exile as well as “a home for freedom of creative expression”.

The Wylie Agency, which represents Mr Rushdie, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Writing by Muzha Kucha; Editing by Tony Okerafor