Sir Salman Rushdie is “likely” to lose an eye after being stabbed in New York, his agent has revealed.
‘The Satanic Verses’ author was attacked on stage on Friday (12.08.22) at an event in New York state and is now on a ventilator and unable to speak, his agent Andrew Wylie has confirmed in a statement.
Wylie said: “Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.”
Rushdie has suffered years of Islamist death threats following the publication of his controversial 1988 novel ‘The Satanic Verses’, which was considered blasphemous by many Muslims.
A fatwa calling for Rushdie’s assassination was issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, and the author spent nearly a decade in hiding after its publication.
The suspect for the attack has been named as 24-year-old Hadi Matar from New Jersey.
New York State Police confirmed that the suspect ran onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and interviewer Henry Reese at the Chautauqua Institution.
Police are yet to reveal any motive or charges as they are in the process of obtaining search warrants to examine a backpack and electronic devices found at the centre.
The authorities confirmed that Rushdie was stabbed at least once in both the neck and the abdomen and the author was taken to a hospital in Pennsylvania by helicopter.
Eyewitness Linda Abraham recalled how the suspect attempted to continue attacking Rushdie even after he had been restrained.
She told The New York Times newspaper: “It took like five men to pull him away and he was still stabbing. He was just furious, furious. Like intensely strong and just fast.”
Rushdie’s attack has led to an outpouring of support from both politicians and fellow writers, with author Neil Gaiman saying he was “shocked and distressed” after the incident.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend.”