Salman Rushdie, the Mumbai-born author of the Booker Prize-winning novel ‘Midnight’s Children’, was attacked by a man who stormed the stage during an event here on Friday while he was getting ready to deliver a lecture.
Rushdie, 75, who suffered years of death threats after the controversial book titled ‘The Satanic Verses’, was either punched or stabbed by a man on stage while he was being introduced at the event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.
A video posted online shows attendees rushing onto the stage immediately following the incident. The attacker is said to have been restrained by those on the scene.
Rushdie’s condition is not currently known, the BBC reported.
“Author Salman Rushdie was stabbed after taking the stage at a Chautauqua Institute event. He received aid on-site and was able to eventually walk off stage with assistance,” Twitter user Ryan Kelly said in a tweet.
“Salmon Rushdie stabbed at Chautauqua. He’s on the stage being treated. Before his scheduled speech,” said Mary Newsom, a freelance journalist from Charlotte.
She tweeted a photo of moments after the attack that showed crews, and law enforcement authorities on stage.
Rushdie’s fourth book, in 1988 – The Satanic Verses – forced him into hiding for nine years.
A year after the book’s publication, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Rushdie’s execution for publishing the book for its blasphemous content.
According to witnesses at the scene, Rushdie fell through a barrier to the stage and was seen with blood on his hands. The audience tackled the attacker. Rushdie was then treated onstage following the assault.
Since the 1980s, Rushdie’s writing has led to death threats from Iran, which has offered a USD 3 million reward for anyone who kills him. Rushdie returns to Chautauqua Institution for a special Chautauqua Lecture Series event exploring the Week Seven theme of “More than Shelter,” joined by Henry Reese, co-founder of the Pittsburgh nonprofit City of Asylum – the largest residency programme in the world for writers living in exile under threat of persecution – for a discussion of the United States as asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression.