The Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie was assaulted on Friday before he began a lecture in western New York.
The attacker was taken into custody by a New York State trooper assigned to the event, police said. Injuries to the interviewer’s head were minor.
New York State Police said a male suspect attacked Salman Rushdie and an interviewer on August 12 2022 at about 11am. A helicopter transported Rushdie to a nearby hospital after he suffered a stab wound to the neck. We do not have any information about his condition.”
Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office assisted on the scene. A State Trooper took the suspect into custody immediately. More details will be released in the coming weeks.
The Chautauqua Institution evacuated its audience after Salman Rushdie delivered a lecture there.
After writing “The Satanic Verses” (1988), Rushdie suffered death threats for years. The book has since been banned in Iran, and a $3.3 million bounty has been placed on his head. The pseudonym he used while in hiding was Joseph Anton, and he wrote a book about living in hiding with a price on his head.
Rushdie’s most celebrated novel “Midnight’s Children,” for which he won the Booker Prize in 1981, was adapted into a Netflix series in 2018.
Among Rushdie’s acting credits are “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Bridget Jones’ Diary.”
Over Rushdie’s writing career, he has received multiple death threats, including a fatwa issued by late Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 concerning his book The Satanic Verses. As of 2012, a religious foundation in Iran has also offered Salman Rushdie more than $3 million in exchange for his death.
Two translators of The Satanic Verses were attacked in 1991: Japanese translator Hitoshi Igarash was stabbed and killed. Italian translator Alberto Salva was stabbed and killed.
Salman Rushdie is a former president of PEN America, which has expressed “shock and horror” over the attack.
In a statement, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said that Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades but has never flinched or faltered. “He has dedicated tireless energy to assisting others who are vulnerable and threatened,” Nossel said.
In spite of the fact that we do not know the motives or origins of this attack, all those who have met words with violence or called for violence have legitimized this assault on a writer while he was attempting to connect with readers. Our thoughts and passions now lie with our dauntless Salman, wishing him a full recovery. Our strong belief is that his essential voice cannot and will not be silenced, Nossel said.