Renowned author Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator and may lose one eye as a result of the stabbing attack he suffered while delivering a lecture in New York on Friday.
According to the author’s agent, Andrew Wylie, the 75-year-old Indian-born novelist is unable to speak after the attack, in which he was stabbed in the neck and abdomen. As a result of the stabbing, “the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was … damaged,” Wylie said.
Rushdie was attacked by a man while speaking at an event held by the Chautauqua Institution in western New York state.
Authorities have detained a suspect named as Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey, but no formal charges have been filed.
Since the publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses” in 1988, Rushdie has been the subject of death threats stemming from the fatwa issued by Iran’s then-Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The Booker Prize winner spent nearly ten years in hiding, but told the press a decade ago that he had decided to resume normal life upon concluding that the threat to his life was diminishing.
Politicians and authors from around the world expressed their shock upon learning of the attack and condemned what is widely seen to be an assault on free speech.
On Saturday French President Emmanuel Macron hailed Rushdie as a person who had “embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism,” adding the author’s “fight is our fight; it is universal.”
Booker Prize recipient Ian McEwan said the attack represented “an assault on freedom of thought and speech. … Freedoms that underpin our rights and liberties.”
“Salman has been an inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists across the world. He is a fiery and generous spirit, a man of immense talent and courage and he will not be deterred,” McEwan added.