Author Salman Rushdie assaulted on stage in New York State

Salman Rushdie, the author whose writings drew death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was assaulted on Friday as he prepared to give a talk in western New York.

An Associated Press reporter saw a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua facility and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was introduced. The author fell to the ground and the man was restrained.

Rushdie’s condition was not immediately known.

Bloodstains mark a screen as author Salman Rushdie, behind the screen, is treated after being attacked during a lecture, Friday, August 12, 2022, at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY (Joshua Goodman/Associated Press)

Rushdie’s Book satanic verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it blasphemous. A year later, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death.

Iran has also offered more than US$3 million as a reward for anyone who kills Rushdie.

The Iranian government long distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment persisted. In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation increased the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.

Rushdie dismissed that threat at the time, saying there was « no evidence » people were interested in the award.

That year Rushdie published a memoir, Joseph Anthonyabout the fatwa.

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