Salman Rushdie Alive, Undergoing Surgery, After Onstage Assassination Attempt

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Aug 12, 2022 - 07:30 PM

Update(1530ET): The Chautauqua Institution, where the attack on Salman Rushdie happened earlier in the morning, reportedly had no security checks upon entrance as the famous author who had previously spent years in hiding given he was under official Iranian death threats (a fatwa from the Ayatollah) was due to speak. According to The New York Times

An usher at the amphitheater, Kyle Doershuk, 20, said security at the Institution is lax and that there did not appear to be any additional measures in place for Mr. Rushdie’s visit. “It’s very open, it’s very accessible, it’s a very relaxed environment,” he said. “In my opinion something like this was just waiting to happen.”

Eyewitnesses in the crowd said Rushdie was stabbed in the neck before the attacker, who remains unidentified, was subdued. The moderator of the event suffered injury as well, though it was said to be mild. A photograph of a suspect in NYPD custody has since emerged...

Rushdie's agent said he is undergoing surgery after being life-flighted from the venue to a local hospital

Rita Landman, an endocrinologist who was in the audience, said that Mr. Rushdie had multiple stab wounds, including one to the right side of his neck, and that there was a pool of blood under his body. But she said he appeared to be alive. “People were saying, ‘He has a pulse, he has a pulse he has a pulse,’” Ms. Landman said.

Additionally, according to the Times, there's no far been no comment from Iranian government representatives:  

A representative for the Iranian interests section at the embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C., which diplomatically represents the government of Iran in the United States, declined to comment on the attack. “We are not getting involved in this,” said the representative, who declined to give his name before he hung up.

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Author Salman Rushdie, who for the past multiple decades has faced death threats from Iran's top Islamic clerics, has been attacked on stage in New York Friday just before he was set to give a lecture. 

"An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was being introduced," AP reports. "The 75-year-old author was pushed or fell to the floor, and the man was restrained."

Salman Rushdie in 2018, via Sky News

Few details were given as to his condition in the immediate aftermath, though the AP eyewitness suggests he's in serious condition after being rushed to the hospital. Blood could be seen splattered on a back wall where Rushdie was standing. 

Early reports say he was stabbed in the neck, according to a police statement, but no details on his condition were given.

"Rushdie was quickly surrounded by a small group of people who held up his legs, presumably to send more blood to his chest," the AP continues. "Hundreds of people in the audience gasped at the sight of the attack and were then evacuated."

Starting in 1989, Iran's late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushie's death over his controversial book, "The Satanic Verses". The 1988 novel by the British-Indian writer became more famous as the controversy around it grew. It is a fictional account of an alternative history of the Islamic prophet Muhammad which much of the Muslim world deemed blasphemy. 

In recent years the bounty has been raised to over $3 million, Iranian state media sources have previously reported, which was mostly raised by a religious foundation with ties to the government. On an official level, Tehran has of late tried to downplay and distance itself from the prior anti-Rushdie fatwa. Over the many years he's been subject of several failed assassination plots.

The at this point unidentified attacker is reported to be in NYPD custody.

Rushdie was seen being life-flighted from the venue, condition unknown...

However, the current Supreme Leader repeated and reaffirmed the original fatwa as recently as 2019.