The novelist Salman Rushdie, famed for The Satanic Verses, Midnight’s Children, and others, was critically wounded Friday morning in a violent, public stabbing attack. Rushdie was preparing to speak at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York State.
Born in then-British-ruled Kashmir in 1947, Rushdie won multiple awards for his novels exploring Indo-Pakistani’s postcolonial history, early Islamic history, and other themes. He was granted police protection by the British government in 1989, following the publication of his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses and the publication of a fatwa calling for his assassination. (The original fatwa was authored by Ruhollah Khomeini, then the supreme leader of Iran, in response to alleged mocking of Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. One of the local translators of the novel, Hitoshi Igarashi (a Japanese professor of Arabic and Persian literature) was assaulted in 1990 and stabbed to death in 1991.
After Rushdie, age 75, was stabbed several times, several onlookers restrained the assailant; the author was then medically evacuated to Erie, PA for emergency surgery. He remains in critical condition.