Author Salman Rushdie ‘stabbed to death in New York’

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Award-winning writer Salman Rushdie has been attacked in New York.

He was stabbed in the neck and abdomen while seated on stage just as he was about to give a speech.

The attacker was arrested after rushing towards the 75-year-old and stabbing him. He was taken into custody.

A suspect has been identified as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, who police believe was given a passport to attend the literary event.

Sir Salman was flown to hospital and underwent an operation lasting several hours until Friday evening.

Video footage captured in the auditorium showed chaotic scenes as people rushed onto the stage to help the author.

Images from the scene showed him receiving medical attention from onlookers.

The incident happened at the Chautauqua Institution, about 55 miles southwest of Buffalo in a rural corner of New York, where a summer lecture series is held.

The interviewer suffered a “minor head injury” and a New York State Police Officer “assigned to the incident immediately took the suspect into custody.”

A spokesman for the venue said: “We are dealing with an emergency situation. I am unable to provide any further details at this time.

Author Salman Rushdie is cared for after he was attacked during a lecture Friday, August 12, 2022 at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY (AP Photo/Joshua Goodman)

He gave a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York (Image: AP)

Salman Rushdie

Disturbing images from witnesses show the author being given medical attention by members of the crowd

Bloodstains mark a screen showing author Salman Rushdie being groomed behind the screen after he was attacked during a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution on Friday, August 12, 2022 in Chautauqua, NY (AP Photo/Joshua Goodman)

Bloodstains were pictured on a background near where he was sitting when he was attacked (Image: AP)

While the attacker’s motive is unclear at this time, the author has been a target for Islamists since the publication of the novel The Satanic Verses.

The critically acclaimed 1988 book, partly influenced by the life of Muhammad, was attacked by authoritarian Muslim leaders, most notably the Iranian ayatollah.

In 1989, the late Ruhollah Khomeini ordered his followers to kill Sir Salman, a statement that meant he needed 24-hour police protection.

He spent years in hiding after the order was given, and police have uncovered several plots in his life.

Although the Iranian government no longer has official support, the country’s supreme leader has never withdrawn the fatwa.

A bounty of over $3 million has been put up for anyone who kills the author.

In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation increased Rushdie’s bounty from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.

Author Salman Rushdie, left behind screen, is groomed after being attacked during a lecture Friday, August 12, 2022 at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY (AP Photo/Joshua Goodman)

A screen was placed in front of the author while he was being revived on stage (Image: AP)

(FILES) In this September 13, 2016 file photo, British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie attends the opening day of the Positive Economy Forum in Le Havre, northwest France, September 13, 2016. - Two previous winners, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, were nominated on September 3, 2019 for the Booker Prize for Best English Language Fiction, which is awarded in October. (PHOTO BY CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images

The author has been the target of attempts on his life for decades (Image: AFP)

FILE??? Author Salman Rushdie speaks about starting his writing career during the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, Mississippi August 18, 2018. Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was attacked on Friday at a lecture in western New York. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, file)

He is widely regarded as one of the finest writers of his generation (Image: AP)

He was also previously targeted by al Qaeda.

After years of living behind tight security, the writer has been able to live a relatively open life more recently.

The affair sparked a high-profile debate over freedom of expression in the UK.

When he was attacked, Sir Salman was scheduled to be interviewed on “The United States as a haven for exiled writers and other artists and a home for freedom of creative expression.”

He was born in India and moved to the UK as a schoolboy.

He went on to become one of the most respected writers of his time, winning the 1981 Booker Prize for Midnight’s Children.

In 2007 he was knighted for services to literature.

He published a memoir about his life in the years after the fatwa in 2012 entitled Joseph Anton, the false name he used to avoid detection while in hiding.

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Justin Scacco

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