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Stabbed writer Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator


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British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie was attacked during a lecture in New York state yesterday. He was stabbed in the neck and abdomen by a 24-year-old man. Rushdie is on a ventilator. He will probably lose an eye because of the stabbing. His liver and nerves in his arm are also damaged

Rushdie was attacked yesterday afternoon just before he was due to give a lecture at an education center in upstate New York. The interviewer was also attacked. He was slightly injured. The 75-year-old Rushdie was in a much worse condition. A doctor who attended the talk in the town of Chautauqua was able to give him first aid. Rushdie was then taken to hospital by helicopter. Here he was operated on urgently. The writer is currently on a ventilator. His literary agent says in a statement that “the news is not good” .

The perpetrator has been identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey. This was announced by the New York Police Department last night. His motive is still under investigation by the FBI. The man came to the lecture as a visitor and had also bought a ticket. The Iranian conservative newspaper Kayhan congratulates Matar on his deed. “Let’s kiss the hand of the man who tore the neck of the enemy of God with a knife.”

Rushdie is known for his book The Devil’s Verses . When this book was published in 1988, there was a lot of discontent among groups of deeply religious Muslims. They regarded the book as blasphemous. Groups of Muslims took to the streets around the world to protest. Fires were set in some bookstores and translators of the book were attacked and even killed.

A year later, Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini declared Rushdie an outlaw. This was done by means of a fatwa; a legal ruling within Islamic law. $3 million was offered to whoever would kill Rushdie. The Iranian government declared in 1998 that it no longer supported the fatwa. Groups of extremists assume that the fatwa still applies, because the calls of a high Shia cleric are no longer changed or withdrawn after the cleric’s death.

The fatwa forced Rushdie into hiding for ten years. After this he was still under constant protection of the British police. Rushdie was seen as Satan. In 1989 a bomb attack on his life in London failed because the bomb went off too early. The fatwa cost Rushmore not only his freedom and security, but also his marriages, friendships and family. However, the writer recently said that he has no regrets.

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