Salman Rushdie on ventilator, unable to speak after New York stabbing
Author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed in the neck and torso onstage at a lecture in New York state, was on a ventilator and unable to speak after several hours in surgery, his agent said.
"The news is not good," said Andrew Wylie, his book agent. "Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged."
Rushdie was being introduced to an audience at western New York's Chautauqua Institution when a man rushed to the stage and attacked the novelist, who has been targeted since the eighties over his novel "The Satanic Verses."
The late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini called Rushdie a blasphemer and said the novel was an insult on Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, and issued a religious decree, calling for his death.
Police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey, who bought a pass to the event.
NBC News reported that an analysis of Matar’s social media accounts showed him to be sympathetic to Shia extremism and the causes of the Iranian armed forces and police found in his phone pictures of Qasem Soleimani, the former head of the Quds Force who was assassinated by the US in Baghdad in January 2020.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan described the incident as "appalling." "We’re thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping him so swiftly," he wrote on Twitter.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was appalled that Rushdie was "stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend."