Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator and unable to speak following attack

Emily Brown

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Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator and unable to speak following attack

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Author Salman Rushdie has been put on a ventilator and left unable to speak after being stabbed at an event in New York.

Rushdie, who is known for his works such as The Satanic Verses, Midnight's Children and The Golden House, was about to give a lecture on stage at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York state when the incident took place on Friday (12 August).

New York State Police have said the suspect ran onto the stage to attack both Rushdie and an interviewer, stabbing the author at least once in the neck and in the abdomen.

Rushdie is the author of the controversial book, The Satanic Verses. Credit: Keith Morris/Hay Ffotos/Alamy Stock Photo
Rushdie is the author of the controversial book, The Satanic Verses. Credit: Keith Morris/Hay Ffotos/Alamy Stock Photo

Staff and audience members managed to get on stage to take the attacker to the ground, and he managed to be held until being arrested by police.

A doctor in the audience gave Rushdie first aid before he was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he underwent surgery.

His agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed he was placed on a ventilator and had suffered damage to his liver, nerves and eye, saying: "Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged."

The interviewer who was attacked in the incident, Henry Reese, suffered a minor head injury and was taken to a local hospital.

Linda Abrams, from Buffalo in New York, witnessed the moment the attack took place and told The New York Times the attacker kept trying to target the author even after audience members restrained him.

Rushdie has been put on a ventilator as a result of the incident. Credit: Abaca Press/Alamy Stock Photo
Rushdie has been put on a ventilator as a result of the incident. Credit: Abaca Press/Alamy Stock Photo

"It took like five men to pull him away and he was still stabbing," Abrams said, adding: "He was just furious, furious. Like intensely strong and just fast."

Another witness, Dr. Martin Haskell, was among those who rushed to help the author and described his wounds as 'serious but recoverable'.

Rushdie has experienced years of Islamist death threats after publishing his book The Satanic Verses in 1988. Some Muslims felt the content of the book to be blasphemous, and it was banned in some countries due to the controversy.

Police have detained a suspect, identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar from Fairview, New Jersey, though no motive or charges have yet been confirmed by the police.

Investigators are in the process of obtaining search warrants to allow them to study a rucksack and electronic devices found at the centre in the wake of the incident.

Rushdie was set to discuss the United States as a refuge for writers and other artists in exile when the attack took place.

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Topics: News, US News, Crime

Emily Brown
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