Author Salman Rushdie attacked on stage in New York

Salman Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, has been attacked as he was about to give a lecture in southwestern New York State.

An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was being introduced. The author was taken or fell to the floor, and the man was restrained.


It remains unclear if Rushdie was seriously injured.

Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it to be blasphemous. A year later, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued an edict calling for Rushdie’s death.

Iran has also offered over $3m in reward for anyone who kills Rushdie.

Iran’s government has long since distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment lingered. In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8m to $3.3m.

Rushdie dismissed that threat at the time, saying there was “no evidence” of people being interested in the reward.

The British-Indian author, who currently lives in the United States, had been previously put under police protection because of threats to his life. He has published dozens of books. The UK knighted him in 2007, which sparked protests in several countries in the Muslim world.

PEN International, a writers’ association that promotes freedom of expression, condemned the attack and wished Rushdie a “fast recovery” in a tweet on Friday. The author is the former president of PEN America, a PEN International chapter.


SOURCE: AL JAZEERA, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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