Salman Rushdie was stabbed at a creatives event at a New York state education center where 100,000 people gather each summer for “community and personal growth.”
The novelist, who was stabbed in the neck onstage, was preparing to give a talk on City of Asylum, a Pittsburgh refuge for writers under threat of prosecution.
The event was part of the Chautauqua Institution’s ongoing lecture series – which will run throughout the summer. Thousands of people travel for the creative and spiritual events at the non-profit center.
Rushdie, 75, was willing to speak with Henry Reese, the co-founder and president of City of Asylum.
His talk was set to begin at 10:45 a.m. as a “discussion of the United States as a refuge for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression.”
Rushdie, 75, has previously received death threats for his writing, with his 1988 book The Satanic Verses sparking protests. He was stabbed in the neck
Located on Chautauqua Lake in western New York, the institution hosts thousands each year for its nine-week annual lecture series
Week seven of the institution’s lecture series was an ongoing discussion about ‘redefining the American home’
Doctors cared for Rushdie after the attack, with witnesses saying a man ‘stumped and stabbed’ the author as he was announced onstage
There seemed to be blood spattering on the wall behind where Rushdie had been attacked, some on chairs too
Prior to his speaking at the institution, Rushdie had delivered a speech in 1997 that inspired Reese to found City of Asylum, the organization said.
This isn’t Rushdie’s first time participating in a lecture series hosted by the institution, according to its website.
Founded in 1874 as a place to “vacation learn,” Chautauqua Institution is a nonprofit organization located on Lake Chautauqua near Buffalo in western New York.
The institution’s website states that it is “dedicated to exploring the best in human values and enriching life through a program that examines the important religious, social and political issues of our time.”
Over the nine weeks of the summer, more than 100,000 people visit Chautauqua Institution in search of tranquility, community and personal growth.
“And every summer they find it,” the website says.
Participating in the seventh week of the lecture series, entitled “More than Shelter: Redefining the American Home,” Rushdie would speak about his own persecution by the Iranian government and his search for refuge in the U.S.
Rushdie was previously in hiding in the UK for nine years with security protection before moving to the US to live without protection.
But horror struck on Friday morning when the novelist was attacked while on stage at the event.
There seemed to be blood spattering on the wall behind where Rushdie had been attacked, and some of them could also be seen on a chair.
The New York State Police said today: “On August 12, 2022, at approximately 11 a.m., a male suspect ran onto the stage and assaulted Rushdie and an interviewer.
Rushdie suffered a significant stab wound to the neck and was transported by helicopter to a hospital in the area.
His condition is not yet known. The interviewer sustained a minor head injury.”
Rushdie was attached prior to his talk in Chautauqua, near Buffalo
He was flown to hospital this morning after the shocking stabbing
Hundreds of people in the audience gasped at the sight of the attack this morning, then were evacuated.
A spokesperson for the Chautauqua Institution said: “We are dealing with an emergency situation. I can’t share any further details at this time.’
The author was knighted in Britain in 2007 ‘for his services to literature’ by his friend Tony Blair.
Rushdie has previously received death threats for his writing, with his book the Satanic Verses allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran.
He wrote the Satanic Verses, which resulted in a culture war igniting in Britain in 1988 – with protests taking place in the UK, along with book burnings.
Pakistan banned the book and in February 1989 he received a fatwa – a death sentence – from the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini.
Khomeini called for the deaths of Rushdie and his publishers, and also called on Muslims to point out those who could kill him if they couldn’t themselves.
The fatwa, or “spiritual opinion,” followed a spate of book burnings in Britain and riots across the Muslim world that left 60 people dead and hundreds injured.
Rushdie was under 24-hour security at British taxpayers’ expense when a $3 million bounty was put on his head.
He had to go into hiding under police protection for ten years and previously reported that every year he received a “Valentine’s Day card” from Iran to let him know that the country has not forgotten its vow to kill him.