Author Salman Rushdie likely to lose eye, on ventilator and unable to speak after stabbing attack

Author Salman Rushdie appears at a signing for his book Home in London on June 6, 2017. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/G3 Box News, File)

Author Salman Rushdie likely to lose eye, on ventilator and unable to speak after stabbing attack

Misty Severi

August 12, 06:02 PM August 12, 10:44 PM

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Author Salman Rushdie will likely be permanently maimed if he survives a stabbing attack during a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York on Friday.

Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, said in an email Friday evening that his client was on a ventilator and could not speak, according to the New York Times.

“The news is not good,” Wylie said. “Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.”

Police said Rushdie, 75, was stabbed multiple times, including in the neck and abdomen, and the person interviewing him suffered a minor head injury. Rushdie was flown to a nearby hospital for surgery.


The suspect in the attack who was taken into custody has been identified as Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey, according to New York State Police. Authorities have not yet determined a motive, but they believe the suspect was acting alone, according to CNN. An investigation is underway, including an attempt to get search warrants for a backpack and electronic devices found at the scene.

Rushdie drew controversy in the late 1980s upon the publication of The Satanic Verses, a book that many Muslims believed to be blasphemous. He received many death threats, particularly after Iran issued a fatwa that asked all Muslims to kill him. A bounty as high as $6 million was also placed on his life, the Index on Censorship said.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Rushdie’s life was saved by a state trooper who reacted quickly to the scene. Hochul also praised Rushdie’s bravery despite the fact that his life is often threatened.

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“Here is an individual who has spent decades speaking truth to power,” Hochul said, according to the outlet. “Someone who has been out there unafraid, despite the threats that have followed him his entire adult life it seems.”

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