CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. (AP) — Salman Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was attacked Friday as he was about to give a lecture in western New York.
An Associated Press reporter saw a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was being introduced. The author fell to the floor, and the man was restrained.
Rushdie’s condition was not immediately known.
Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it to be blasphemous. A year later, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death. A bounty of over $3 million has also been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie.
For nine years after the fatwa, Rushdie lived in hiding. During that time, the novel’s Norwegian publisher was shot three times on an Oslo street.
Iran’s government has long since distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment lingered. In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.
Rushdie dismissed that threat at the time, saying there was “no evidence” of people being interested in the reward.
That year, Rushdie published a memoir, “Joseph Anton,” about the fatwa.
Rushdie, born in India, became a British citizen in 1964 and a U.S. citizen in 2016.
Check back for updates on this developing story.