CHAUTAUQUA, NY – New York State Police are investigating an attack on author Salman Rushdie prior to a speaking event at the Chautauqua Institution on Friday.
On Aug. 12, at about 11 a.m., a male suspect ran up onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer. Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and was transported by helicopter to an area hospital. His condition is not yet known. The interviewer suffered a minor head injury.
A State Trooper assigned to the event immediately took the suspect into custody. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene.
According to a report by the Associated Press, an AP reporter witnessed the suspect “confront Rushdie onstage . . . and begin punching or stabbing him 10 to 15 times as he was being introduced.” The report said Rushdie “was pushed or fell to the floor,” and that’s when the State Trooper arrested the man.
Witnesses said the attack lasted “about 20 seconds,” the AP reports.
According to the report, a group of people tended to Rushdie following the attack and lifted his legs, presumably to increase blood flow to his chest. Audience members, the report said, were escorted out of the amphitheater.
Rushdie’s 1988 book, “The Satanic Verses” is considered blasphemous by many Muslims and was banned in Iran. The AP report said the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989. A $3 million bounty has been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie, according to the AP report.