Author Salman Rushdie, whose book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988 because Muslims find it blasphemous, has been attacked onstage at an event in New York state. Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from the then-supreme Shi'ah leader in the 1980s, was attacked this morning as he was about to give a lecture in western New York.
An Associated Press reporter saw a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was being introduced. The author was taken or fell to the floor, and the man was restrained.
The Associated Press reporter took photographs that show Rushdie lying on his back, with a first responder crouched over him.
In 1989, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa (edict), calling for British citizen Rushdie’s death after the then-Indian government drew the attention of the world to The Satanic Verses by being the first country to ban the book. A bounty of more than $ 3 million was offered for anyone who kills Rushdie.
Iran’s government has long since distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment lingered.
In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8m to $3.3m.
Rushdie dismissed that threat at the time, saying there was “no evidence” of people being interested in the reward.
That year, Rushdie published a memoir, Joseph Anton, about the fatwa.
This is a developing story. Readers may look for an updated version as more information related to the attack is shared by the police.