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Salman Rushdie stabbed in New York

Author Salman Rushdie has been rushed into surgery after being stabbed at an event in New York.

Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie 75, had just stepped on stage to speak at an event at the Chautauqua Institution on Friday, when a man who has now been identified as Hadi Matar, 24, ran onto the stage wielding a knife and attacked Mr. Rushdie.

Salman Rushdie has been stabbed at least once in the neck, and at least once in the abdomen. He was taken to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, by helicopter, and is now undergoing emergency surgery. The latest reports reveal he is alive.

rushdie stabbed
Credit: SFgate

Since the publication of The Satanic Verses in September 1988, the author has faced innumerable threats to his life and has been the target of Islamist death threats.  In 1989, Iran’s religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a fatwa on Rushdie for “insulting Islam”, which resulted in Rushdie going into hiding, and seeking asylum in London.

Witnesses at the scene on Friday, report that they could see the attacker sort of pounding Rushdie. “I could just see his fists sort of pounding on Salman,” Bill Vasu, told the New York Times.

Members of the audience screamed, as people ran to stop the attacker and give aid to Rushdie, who had been apparently stabbed several times, including in the neck. Rushdie lay face up on the floor, and someone gave aid by elevating his legs. He was “covered with blood and there was blood running down onto the floor” as people crouched over him saying, “He has a pulse, he has a pulse,” two other witnesses told the Times.

Police detained a suspect named Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey. No motive or charges have yet been confirmed by police.