Iran celebrates attack of Salman Rushdie while author is in critical condition

Dominic Smithers

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Iran celebrates attack of Salman Rushdie while author is in critical condition

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Iran has celebrated the attack on Salman Rushdie, who remains in a critical state after being stabbed.

The acclaimed writer was set to give a lecture at the the Chautauqua Institution in New York yesterday (12 August).

But as he was being introduced to the packed auditorium, a man ran onto the stage and attacked Rushdie, stabbing him in the neck.

Fortunately, people were able to get onto the stage and restrain the man, with footage from the incident showing the 75-year-old lying on the floor as he was being treated by a doctor from the audience.

Rushdie was later taken by helicopter to hospital, where he underwent surgery.

His 1988 book The Satanic Verses is the writer's most controversial work and is banned in Iran, with many Muslims claiming it to be blasphemous. 

In 1989, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's death.

Salman Rushdie and his book 'The Satanic Verses'. Credit: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy
Salman Rushdie and his book 'The Satanic Verses'. Credit: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

A $3 million bounty was offered for his murder, while a decade ago, it was raised by a semi-official Iranian religious foundation to $3.3m.

Since news of the attack broke, state media in Iran has been celebrating.

The Khorasan daily newspaper published the story along with the headline: "Satan on the way to hell".

While the Asr Iran news site also mocked the incident, using a quote from the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that claimed the 'arrow' shot by Ruhollah Khomeini would 'one day hit the target'.

State news agency FARS News branded the author an 'apostate' and claimed his work had 'insulted the Prophet of Islam'.

And thanking the attacker, the Kayhan newspaper also said: "A thousand bravos to the brave and dutiful person who attacked the apostate and evil Salman Rushdie in New York.

Media in Iran has been celebrating the attack on Rushdie. Credit: dpa picture alliance/Alamy
Media in Iran has been celebrating the attack on Rushdie. Credit: dpa picture alliance/Alamy

"The hand of the man who tore the neck of God's enemy must be kissed."

Rushdie was taken to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he was treated for his extensive injuries.

His agent, Andrew Wylie, revealed that the author had been placed on a ventilator.

He said: "Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged."

Rushdie was at the Chautauqua Institution to give a lecture alongside Henry Reese, the co-founder and president of City of Asylum in Pittsburgh, which was founded almost 20 years ago to offer sanctuary to writers exiled under threat of persecution. 

He too was attacked in the incident, suffering a minor head injury.

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Topics: News, UK News, US News, Crime

Dominic Smithers
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