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Author Salman Rushdie attacked at speaking event in New York state

(NEW YORK) — Author Salman Rushdie was attacked at an event in New York state on Friday, according to witness accounts and law enforcement reports.

Rushdie was scheduled to give a lecture at the education center Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, in southwestern New York, Friday morning.

At around 11 a.m., a man “ran up onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer,” according to New York State Police.

Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and was transported by helicopter to the hospital, police said. His condition is unclear.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department also confirmed to ABC News there was a stabbing at the event where Rushdie was speaking.

The suspect was taken into custody by a state trooper, police said.

In the aftermath of the attack, Rushdie, 75, was seen being tended to while on the stage.

The interviewer suffered a minor head injury during the attack, police said.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called the attack “horrific,” and said she has directed state police to “further assist however needed in the investigation.”

Police have not commented on a possible motive in the assault, and the suspect has not been identified.

The British-Indian writer faced years of death threats after his novel, The Satanic Verses, was published in 1988.

The late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini accused the author of blasphemy over the book and in 1989 issued a fatwa against Rushdie, calling for his death.

Rushdie spent years in hiding, which he chronicled in his 2012 memoir, Joseph Anton. The book was nominated for the United Kingdom’s top nonfiction award, the Samuel Johnson prize.

In 2018, the Iranian foreign minister said that the country no longer supported the fatwa against Rushdie, though a bounty for his death continues to be offered by an Iranian religious foundation. In 2012, the group increased the bounty from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.

Others have been attacked in connection with “The Satanic Verses,” which was banned in several countries following its publication. Among them, Hitoshi Igarashi, who translated the book into Japanese, was stabbed to death in 1991 on the campus where he taught literature.

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