Salman Rushdie attacked while speaking at an event in New York

Rushdie was airlifted to a local hospital, police said. His condition is unknown. An investigator also suffered minor head injuries, police said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul told reporters on Friday that Rushdie was “alive” and “getting the treatment he needed.” She said a state trooper “got up and saved his life and protected him and the moderator who also came under attack.

“Here is an individual who has spent decades speaking truth to power,” the governor said of Rushdie. “Someone who has come out fearless, despite the threats that have followed him his entire adult life, it seems.”

Rushdie was introduced around 10:45 a.m. when the assault happened, according to a witness, who said he heard screams in the audience. He said a man in a black shirt appeared to be “hitting” the author. The witness, who was 75 feet from the scene, did not hear the attacker say anything or see a weapon.

Some people in the audience ran to rescue Rushdie while others grappled with the attacker, the witness said.

Another witness told CNN there were no security searches or metal detectors at the event. The witness has not been identified because he expressed concerns for his personal safety.

The witness said the attacker “walked quickly” down an aisle and jumped onto the stage, approaching the perpetrator and “repeatedly making a stabbing motion with his hand”.

On its website, the Chautauqua Institution described Friday’s event as “a discussion of the United States as a haven for exiled writers and other artists and a home for freedom of creative expression.”

In a statement, the nonprofit education and resort center said it was “coordinating with law enforcement and emergency officials a public response following today’s attack. by Salman Rushdie on the stage of the Chautauqua amphitheater”.

Writers such as Stephen King and JK Rowling expressed their best wishes for Rushdie via Twitter.

Rushdie was harassed by “The Satanic Verses”

The 75-year-old novelist, the son of a successful Muslim businessman in India, was educated in England, first at Rugby School and then at Cambridge University where he earned a master’s degree in history.

After college he began working as a copywriter in London, before publishing his first novel, “Grimus” in 1975.

Rushdie’s treatment of sensitive political and religious subjects made him a controversial figure. But it was the publication of his fourth novel “The Satanic Verses” in 1988 that haunted him for more than three decades.

Some Muslims found the book sacrilegious and it sparked public protests. In 1989, the late Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called Rushdie a blasphemer and said “satanic verses” were an insult to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, and issued a religious edict, or fatwa, calling for his death.

As a result, the Mumbai-born writer spent a decade under British protection before the Iranian government announced it would no longer seek to enforce the fatwa in 1998.

CNN’s Paul Murphy and Mark Morales contributed to this report.


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