ECONOMYNEXT – Indian-born author Salman Rushdie is recovering well after an assassination attempt when he was stabbed in the neck before addressing a gathering at a literary fair in New York, foreign media reports.
Rushdie was stabbed at least 10 times in the face, neck and abdomen on Friday (12) resulting in severed nerves in one arm and a damaged liver. He was until recently put onto a ventilator, but is now able to speak. Reports say he is likely to lose an eye.
The suspected attacker Hadi Matar, 24, has been in remand custody without bail after pleading not guilty to attempted murder, the BBC reported.
Rushdie, 75, shot to fame with his book “Midnight’s Children,” the film version of which was shot in Sri Lanka.
He was forced to go into hiding after his fourth book, the Satanic Verses sparked controversy among members of the Islamic community for containing “blasphemous” content and mocking the religion.
The novel was inspired by the life of Prophet Muhammed, and drew from Quranic verses and contemporary events, following Rushdie’s usual style of magical realism.
It sparked such deep outrage that in 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah then leader of Iran issued a fatwa (religious ruling) calling for the Muslim community to kill the author.
Police found evidence linking Matar to Iranian extremist groups.
Rushdie spent nearly a decade in hiding, but continued writing and campaigning for freedom of speech. He appeared in public occasionally, but with a 3 million USD bounty on his head, his movements were under constant surveillance.
Just two weeks ago, Rushdie had confided that he felt life was “relatively normal” and the fatwa was “old,” in an interview with Germany’s Stern magazine.
The interview was due to be published on Wednesday (18) but was put out a day after the stabbing, BBC noted.
Though Iran has distanced itself from the fatwa somewhat, it has not been officially rescinded.
Iranian Conservatives have taken to social media to express happiness at the attempted assassination.
Many heads of state, activists and public figures and fans have shown an outpouring of support for Rushdie.
Meanwhile, J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series received death threats after she posted a tweet in solidarity with the recuperating author.
Rowling tweeted “Horrifying news. Feeling very sick right now. Let him be ok.”
Her tweet was met with a reply of “Don’t worry you’re next,” by a Twitter user who had called Matar a “revolutionary Shia fighter.”
Rowling stated that the police had been involved in the matter.
Rushdie’s condition is “heading in the right direction,” said his agent.
The author’s next work is due in 2023. (Colombo/Aug24/2022)