1. Author Salman Rushdie, 75, has been stabbed on stage at an event in New York state
  2. Eyewitnesses say he was struck many times by an attacker wearing a mask
  3. Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and abdomen
  4. Police say the suspect has been identified as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from New Jersey
  5. Members of the audience intervened to stop and detain the attacker, officers say
  6. Officials say they assessed security and a state trooper was on the premises to make the arrest
  7. The author remains in surgery, which has been ongoing for a number of hours
  8. Rushdie faced death threats and went into hiding for nearly a decade after his book The Satanic Verses was published in 1988.

Background

Though we do not know the motivation of Salman Rushdie’s attacker, the author has faced death threats for more than 30 years since the publication of The Satanic Verses.

Rushdie said the main thrust of his novel was to examine the immigrant experience, but some Muslims were offended by portrayals of the Prophet Muhammed and the questioning of the nature of the revelation of the Quran as the word of God.

The Satanic Verses was banned first in the author’s country of birth, India, and then several other countries before Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued his infamous fatwa.

The fatwa called for the killing of anyone involved in the publication of the book and offered rewards to those who took part in the murders. That fatwa has never formally been rescinded.

Surprised by the widespread nature of the protests, Salman Rushdie apologised to Muslims but went into hiding for much of the next 10 years.

Though the writer had escaped physical harm until now, others associated with the book had not, with its Norwegian publisher having been shot and seriously wounded in the early 1990s, and its Japanese translator stabbed to death. (BBC)

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