Indian-origin author Salman Rushdie, 75, is currently fighting for his life in a hospital in the United States after being stabbed several times at an event at the Chautauqua Institution, a not-for-profit community on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State. Reports suggest that Rushdie's liver has been severely damaged and he could lose an eye.
"The news is not good," Andrew Wylie, his agent, wrote in an email. "Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged." According to the law enforcement authorities, the author was stabbed "at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen.”
Hadi Matar (24) from Fairview, New Jersey has been identified as the suspect who stabbed Rushdie, Major Eugene Staniszewski of the New York State Police told a press conference on Friday evening.
The incident has shaken the entire world at a time when religion has become a cause of riots, hate and killing. Rushdie has been facing Islamist death threats for years after writing 'The Satanic Verses'.
What more do we know about Hadi Matar?
The 24-year-old man, Hadi Matar, detained in connection with the stabbing of Mumbai-born controversial author Salman Rushdie was sympathetic to "Shia extremism" and the causes of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to a media report.
Though there are no direct links between Matar and the IRGC, law enforcement officers reportedly found images of slain commander Qassem Solemani and an Iraqi extremist sympathetic to the Iranian regime in a cell phone messaging app belonging to Matar, according to NBC News.
According to officials, he further said that at the moment, it is assumed that the suspect was "working alone" but they are investigating to make sure that was the case.
The authorities, however, are in the "process of obtaining search warrants for various items. There was a backpack located at the scene. There was also electronic devices".
Police did not describe the weapon used. The suspect’s attorney, public defender Nathaniel Barone, said he was still gathering information and declined to comment. Matar’s home was blocked off by authorities.
The suspect in Friday’s attack had a “pass to access the grounds,” Dr Michael E Hill, president of the Chautauqua Institution, said in the news conference, reported PTI.
The controversy around Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses'
Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it offensive to Islam.
The author spent about 10 years under police protection in the United Kingdom, living in hiding after Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for Rushdie’s execution.
A bounty of over USD 3 million has been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie, who has been a prominent spokesman for free expression and liberal causes.
Since 2000, Rushdie has lived in the United States.
(with inputs from agencies)