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Salman Rushdie stabbed, Highlights: Rushdie on road to recovery, agent says; attacker pleads ‘not guilty’

Salman Rushdie stabbed, Highlights: On Saturday, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, accused of attacking Salman Rushdie pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor called a “preplanned” crime.

By: Express Web Desk
Updated: August 16, 2022 8:25:04 am
Salman RushdieAuthor Salman Rushdie (AP)

Salman Rushdie stabbed, Highlights: Author Salman Rushdie was taken off a ventilator and able to talk Saturday, a day after he was stabbed as he prepared to give a lecture in upstate New York. Rushdie remained hospitalized with serious injuries, but fellow author Aatish Taseer tweeted in the evening that he was “off the ventilator and talking (and joking).” Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed that Rushdie was “on the road to recovery”.

On Saturday, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, accused of attacking Rushdie pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor called a “preplanned” crime. An attorney for Hadi Matar entered the plea on his behalf during an arraignment in western New York. The suspect appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask, with his hands cuffed in front of him.

In an interview conducted just weeks before he was stabbed and seriously wounded , author Salman Rushdie said his life was now “relatively normal”, after having lived in hiding for years because of death threats. Rushdie talked in the interview with Germany’s Stern magazine about the threats he sees to US democracy. He also called himself an optimist, and noted that the fatwa, a religious edict issued in Iran in 1989 that called on Muslims around the world to kill him for blasphemy, was pronounced long ago. Born into a Muslim Kashmiri family in Bombay, Rushdie moved to the UK. He has long faced death threats for his fourth novel, ‘The Satanic Verses,’ most prominently from Iran’s powerful cleric and leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who had pronounced a fatwa calling upon Muslims to kill the novelist.

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Rushdie is off ventilator and able to talk, agent says; Film personalities condemn 'barbaric' attack on Salman Rushdie; Follow highlights here.

08:25 (IST)16 Aug 2022
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12:31 (IST)15 Aug 2022
Iran says Rushdie and supporters to blame for his attac

Salman Rushdie, an acclaimed author who was stabbed repeatedly at a public appearance in New York state on Friday, and his supporters are to blame for the attack, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said in a press briefing.

Freedom of speech does not justify Rushdie's insults upon religion in his writing, Kanaani said.

Iran has no other information about Rushdie's assailant except what has appeared in media, he added. (Reuters)

11:11 (IST)15 Aug 2022
Salman Rushdie's ‘feisty and defiant' humour remains intact, says son

Salman Rushdie is still in a critical condition, but his usual feisty and defiant sense of humour remains intact, his son has said, as the Mumbai-born author battles severe, life-changing injuries.

His son, Zafar Rushdie, said that the family was “extremely relieved” that the best-selling author was taken off the ventilator and additional oxygen on Saturday and he was able to say a few words.

“Following the attack on Friday, my father remains in a critical condition in hospital receiving extensive ongoing medical treatment,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Though his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty and defiant sense of humour remains intact,” he said.

The family expressed gratitude to the audience members who bravely leapt to Rushdie's defence and administered first-aid after he was stabbed multiple times at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York.

The family thanked the police and doctors for their care. They also expressed gratitude for the “outpouring of love and support from around the world.” “We ask for continued patience and privacy as the family comes together at his bedside to support and help him through this time,” the statement said. (PTI)

10:41 (IST)15 Aug 2022
Rushdie stood up for universal rights of freedom of expression, freedom of religion: Blinken

Asserting that Salman Rushdie has consistently stood up for the universal rights of freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of the press, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Iranian state institutions have incited violence against the Indian-origin author for generations and state-affiliated media recently gloated about an attempt on his life.

"We join those across the country and around the world who are keeping Salman Rushdie in our thoughts in the aftermath of this heinous attack," Blinken said in a statement.

"More than a literary giant, Rushdie has consistently stood up for the universal rights of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of the press. While law enforcement officials continue to investigate the attack, I am reminded of the pernicious forces that seek to undermine these rights, including through hate speech and incitement to violence.

"Specifically, Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life. This is despicable," he added. (PTI)

10:28 (IST)15 Aug 2022
Salman Rushdie off ventilator and 'road to recovery has begun,' agent says

Salman Rushdie, the acclaimed author who was stabbed repeatedly at a public appearance in New York state on Friday, 33 years after Iran's then-supreme leader called for him to be killed, is off a ventilator and his health is improving, his agent and a son said on Sunday.

"He's off the ventilator, so the road to recovery has begun," his agent, Andrew Wylie, wrote in an email to Reuters. "It will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction."

The Indian-born writer has lived with a bounty on his head following the publication of his 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses," which is viewed by some Muslims as containing blasphemous passages. In 1989 Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for his assassination.

14:00 (IST)14 Aug 2022
Amitava Kumar’s open letter to Hadi Matar: You have failed — we are all returning to Rushdie’s words

Listen, you are young and I understand you will only be sitting in a room doing nothing for many, many years. I hope you will find time to read this letter. The world learned yesterday that you are 24. The man you tried to kill is 75. I don’t know about you but when I was 24, I was reading that man’s writings with great devotion. You might even say I was a bit fanatical in my habit.

The following year, when I was 25, there was a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, calling for this man’s death for his novel The Satanic Verses — and that murderous edict resulted, after three decades, in the terrible act you perpetrated with such savagery. The man you tried to kill survived your attack; I’m guessing that now there will be no bounty for you. Only an eternity in prison. Asmitava Kumar writes


13:10 (IST)14 Aug 2022
ICYMI: Fatwa, death threats, exile — how The Satanic Verses changed Salman Rushdie’s life

Since the publication of The Satanic Verses in September 1988, the British-Indian writer who won the Booker Prize for his Midnight’s Children (1981) has faced innumerable threats to his life. On February 14, 1989, Iran’s religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a fatwa on Rushdie for “insulting Islam” with his novel. The repercussions of this would continue to be felt for decades to come. Even as Rushdie went into hiding following the fatwa, book bans, book burnings, firebombings and death threats continued unabated for years to come, raising important questions about freedom of expression in the arts around the world. Read the explainer here

12:08 (IST)14 Aug 2022
In Pictures | Salman Rushdie's attacker Hadi Matar pleads 'not guilty'
Hadi Matar, 24, center, listens to his public defense attorney Nathaniel Barone, left, addresses the judge while being arraigned in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, NY., Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Matar, accused of carrying out a stabbing attack against “Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie, has entered a not-guilty plea on charges of attempted murder and assault.

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11:36 (IST)14 Aug 2022
ICYMI: After the attack on Salman Rushdie, remembering Sahir Ludhianvi

Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega

Insaan ki aulad hai, insaan banega (You will grow up neither Hindu nor Muslim, The only identity you will have will be that of a human)

Sahir Ludhianvi’s lines, given a soothing quality by Mohammad Rafi’s voice, come to me as I read about the horrific attack that has left writer Salman Rushdie battling for his life. In recent years, I have reprised the lines many times – when Mohammed Ahlaq was lynched, when communally-frenzied mobs burnt down houses and took more than 50 lives in northeast Delhi, and after the numerous incidents that have virtually normalised hatred in the country. But I can’t also help turning to Sahir’s call for humanity when debates over how to express community identity and restrictions on individual choice rent the air, not just in the country but in other parts of the world – these are times when even choices on food and dress are embattled. Kaushik Das Gupta writes

10:52 (IST)14 Aug 2022
From discussions on blasphemy to intolerance, ‘Satanic Verses’ in Parliament over the years

Celebrated writer Salman Rushdie, who is currently undergoing treatment after being attacked at an event in west New York, had found himself at the centre of a controversy in India and the Islamic world for his book ‘The Satanic Verses’ that came out in 1988. The Rajiv Gandhi government’s decision to ban the import of the book, the first country to do so, remains contested to this day, within the Congress as well as outside.

Former Minister of State for External Affairs, Natwar Singh, defended the decision on Saturday, arguing that “it was taken purely in view of the law and order situation”. Singh had also told The Sunday Express that the decision had nothing to with “appeasing” one community. Manoj C G writes

10:24 (IST)14 Aug 2022
US President Biden condemns attack on Rushdie, hails him for refusing to be intimidated

US President Joe Biden has expressed shock and sadness over the vicious attack on Salman Rushdie and praised the Mumbai-born author for refusing to be "intimidated or silenced" and standing for essential and universal ideals of truth, courage and resilience.

Rushdie, who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing "The Satanic Verses", was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident identified as Hadi Matar, a US national of Lebanese origin, on stage on Friday while he was being introduced at a literary event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.

"Jill (the first lady) and I were shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious attack on Salman Rushdie yesterday in New York. We, together with all Americans and people around the world, are praying for his health and recovery," Biden said in a statement. The US President said he was grateful to the first responders and the brave individuals who jumped into action to render aid to Rushdie and subdue the attacker. (PTI)

10:05 (IST)14 Aug 2022
Prosecutor: Stab attack on Salman Rushdie was ‘preplanned’

The man accused in the stabbing attack on Salman Rushdie pleaded not guilty Saturday to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor called a “preplanned” crime, as the renowned author of The Satanic Verses remained hospitalised with serious injuries. An attorney for Hadi Matar entered the plea on his behalf during an arraignment in western New York. The suspect appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask, with his hands cuffed in front of him.

A judge ordered him held without bail after District Attorney Jason Schmidt told her Matar took steps to purposely put himself in position to harm Rushdie, getting an advance pass to the event where the author was speaking and arriving a day early bearing a fake ID. “This was a targeted, unprovoked, preplanned attack on Mr Rushdie,” Schmidt said. Read more

09:38 (IST)14 Aug 2022
Lebanese-descent resident of New Jersey, sympathetic to Iran: What we know of Rushdie’s attacker Hadi Matar so far

Hadi Matar, 24, is a resident of Fairview, New Jersey, a state neighbouring New York. He was born in the United States to Lebanese parents who emigrated from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, the mayor of Yaroun, Ali Tehfe, told The Associated Press and Reuters. NBC News reported that an analysis of Matar’s social media accounts by law enforcement showed him to be sympathetic to Shia extremism and the causes of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an ideologically-driven branch of the Iranian armed forces committed to protecting the country’s Islamic system from hostile foreign powers and internal dissensions. What we know of Rushdie's attacker so far

09:12 (IST)14 Aug 2022
Rushdie attack: Loud silence today echoes Parliament’s muted stand over years on Satanic Verses ban

At a time when any issue touched off noisy, partisan rancour, the attack on writer Salman Rushdie has seen a rare consensus in the political establishment: an evasive silence. Barring a few voices, the political class has largely stayed away from condemning the grievous assault.

Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru Saturday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, when asked about the attack, said: “I also read about that…I think, obviously that is something which the whole world has noted and any attack like this obviously the entire world has reacted to it.”  Among the few who condemned the assault include CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor; his party colleague and Congress media chief Pawan Khera; and Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi. Manoj C G writes

08:38 (IST)14 Aug 2022
Thirty years on, why ‘The Satanic Verses’ remains so controversial

One of the most controversial books in recent literary history, Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses,” was published three decades ago this month and almost immediately set off angry demonstrations all over the world, some of them violent.

A year later, in 1989, Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, ordering Muslims to kill the author. Born in India to a Muslim family, but by then a British citizen living in the U.K., Rushdie was forced to go into protective hiding for the greater part of a decade.

What was – and still is – behind this outrage? Read here

08:04 (IST)14 Aug 2022
Rushdie is off ventilator and able to talk, agent says

Author Salman Rushdie was taken off a ventilator and able to talk Saturday, a day after he was stabbed as he prepared to give a lecture in upstate New York. Rushdie remained hospitalized with serious injuries, but fellow author Aatish Taseer tweeted in the evening that he was “off the ventilator and talking (and joking).” Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed that information without offering further details.

08:00 (IST)14 Aug 2022
Welcome to today's blog

Good morning! Welcome to the Indian Express live blog. We bring to you the latest updates on author Salman Rushdie's health conditions, and more. Stay tuned

22:33 (IST)13 Aug 2022
Watch | Video shows the moment people rushed to aid Rushdie after he was attacked

22:03 (IST)13 Aug 2022
Attack on Salman Rushdie a strike on freedom of expression, Canada's Trudeau says

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday that the attack on author Salman Rushdie is a strike on the freedom of expression.

"No one should be threatened or harmed on the basis of what they have written. I'm wishing him a speedy recovery," Trudeau said in a tweet. (Reuters)

21:21 (IST)13 Aug 2022
Shocked, saddened by the brutal attack on author Salman Rushdie: WHO chief

World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he is shocked and saddened by the brutal attack on author Salman Rushdie, calling it “cowardice and abhorrent.”

The 75-year-old Mumbai-born writer, who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing "The Satanic Verses", was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident identified as Hadi Matar on stage on Friday while he was being introduced at the event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.

“Shocked and saddened by the brutal attack on #SalmanRushdie. This is cowardice and abhorrent. My thoughts are with him and his loved ones,” Ghebreyesus tweeted. Matar, who stabbed author Salman Rushdie, is facing charges of attempted murder and assault. (PTI)

Salman Rushdie at Express Idea Exchange in 2013: 'Yes, I would write The Satanic Verses again'

“Yes, I would write The Satanic Verses again.”

That was Salman Rushdie in January 2013, in The Indian Express, where he had dropped by for Idea Exchange, the newsroom’s weekly interaction with newsmakers.

He was referring to his 1988 novel that had set off a series of death threats against him and forced him to live in hiding for nearly a decade following the pronouncement of a fatwa against him by Iran’s religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

Salman Rushdie, Salman Rushdie attack, Salman Rushdie New York attack, Salman Rushdie stabbed, Salman Rushdie death threat, author Salman Rushdie, novelist Salman Rushdie, Salman Rushdie news, Salman Rushdie attack reaction, books, controversial books, indian express news Details are still sketchy about his condition and the man who attacked him, but according to reports, Rushdie was on stage at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, when the attack took place. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

On Friday, Rushdie, 75, was attacked by an unidentified assailant in Chautauqua, New York, as he waited to deliver a lecture.

On its release, The Satanic Verses was banned in countries around the world for purportedly hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims for its satirical portrayal of the Prophet.

Incidentally, India had been the first country to ban the book.

“The ban was a moment of spinelessness but it wasn’t the only such moment. At the time of the ban, there were no copies available in India,” he said.

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First published on: 13-08-2022 at 07:49:48 am
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