Salman Rushdie has taken off his ventilator as the ‘road to recovery’ begins, agent says

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Author Salman Rushdie has been taken off a ventilator and « the road to recovery has begun », his agent said on Sunday, two days after the famed novelist was stabbed in the neck and abdomen during a event in western New York.

« The injuries are serious, but his condition is moving in the right direction, » Rushdie’s agent Andrew Wylie said in a statement. Washington Postadding that the recovery process would be long.

Rushdie, 75, was attacked on stage Friday at the Chautauqua Institution, where he was about to be interviewed as part of a summer lecture series. The targeting of one of the world’s most famous authors has angered and worried fans and shocked the literary world.

Witnesses among the crowd who had gathered to hear Rushdie speak said they saw the assailant stab him multiple times. Wylie told The Associated Press that Rushdie suffered liver and nerve damage in one arm and would likely lose an eye. A doctor in the audience attended to Rushdie before paramedics arrived and airlifted him to hospital by helicopter.

Police arrested Hadi Mater, a 24-year-old man from New Jersey, in custody at the scene. He was arrested on Saturday, charged with attempted murder and assault.

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Indian-born Rushdie spent much of his life in Britain but went into hiding after Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the author’s execution for portraying the Islam and the Prophet Muhammad in his 1988 book « The Satanic Verses » – which was considered blasphemous by some Muslims.

World leaders including President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have condemned the attack on Rushdie, which many see as an attack on free speech.

Sales of the controversial book have increased dramatically on Amazon in recent days, and as of Sunday the novel is No. 11 in the bestseller list.

Although the Iranian bounty for his death was more than $3 million, Rushdie – a British-American citizen who moved to New York in the early 2000s – had appeared at public literary events in the past, sometimes without visible security guards. Attendees at the event in Chautauqua, NY, said there were no security checks Friday.

A site official said the suspect had a pass to enter the grounds.


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