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Salman Rushdie Stabbed on NY Stage, Currently on Ventilator and Unable to Speak
By Staff, Agencies
Salman Rushdie, the author of a blasphemous anti-Islam book, has been attacked and stabbed at least twice on stage Friday before a lecture he was scheduled to give at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York, State Police said.
Rushdie, 75, was on a ventilator Friday evening and could not speak, his agent, Andrew Wylie, told the New York Times.
"Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged," Wylie told the Times. "The news is not good."
The suspect was identified as Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey, State Police Troop Commander Major Eugene J. Staniszewski said in a Friday evening news conference. Police are working with the FBI and local authorities to determine the motive.
Authorities are also working to obtain search warrants for several items found at the scene, including a backpack and electronic devices, Staniszewski said. Authorities believe the suspect was alone but are investigating "to make sure that was the case," Staniszewski added.
The suspect jumped onto the stage and stabbed Rushdie at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen, state police said. Staff and audience members rushed the suspect and put him on the ground before a state trooper took the attacker into custody, police said.
Rushdie was airlifted from a field adjacent to the venue – in a rural lake resort about 70 miles south of Buffalo – to a hospital. Rushdie was undergoing surgery at a hospital in northwestern Pennsylvania, Erie Police Department Deputy Chief William Marucci told CNN Friday evening.
Authorities are working with the district attorney's office to determine what the charges for the suspect will be "once we get a little further in the investigation and determine the condition of Mr. Rushdie," Staniszewski said.
Meanwhile, police in Fairview blocked off the street of a home believed to be connected to the suspect and were not allowing anyone, including residents of the street, in or out of the area. Residents were later allowed to enter and exit, but local police remained stationed outside the home.
At least two plainclothes law enforcement officers and two Fairview officers were seen leaving the driveway of the home.
Rushdie is the author of “The Satanic Verses”, a blasphemous novel about Islam published in 1988 which sparked Muslims’ outrage across the globe.
Following the publication of the book, Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, issued a fatwa [religious decree] calling for Rushdie’s death.
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