Skip to main content

Home Music Music News

Salman Rushdie is on ‘road to recovery’ following New York stabbing

But his son said that the author had sustained "life changing injuries" from the attack

By Tom Skinner

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie. CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons

Author Salman Rushdie is recovering after being stabbed multiple times on-stage in New York on Friday (August 12), according to his family.

The writer, 75, was attacked as he prepared to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York. Police later said that Rushdie had been stabbed “at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen”.

New York State Police Major Eugene J. Staniszewski identified the suspect as 24-year-old Fairview, New Jersey resident Hadi Matar, but stated officials had yet to identify a motive. Rushdie has faced years of death threats over his novel The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims view as blasphemous.

Yesterday (August 14), it was reported that the author had been taken off a ventilator and was able to talk again (via the BBC). His agent, meanwhile, has told CNN that Rushdie is on the “road to recovery”.

In a statement, his son Zafar Rushdie said yesterday: “Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty & defiant sense of humour remains intact.”

CNN reported that Rushdie was still being treated for injuries, including three stab wounds to his neck, four stab wounds to his stomach, puncture wounds to his right eye and chest, and a laceration on his right thigh.

Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, said in a previous email to The New York Times that the author would “likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged”.

Matar has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury with a deadly weapon. If convicted of both charges, he faces up to 32 years in prison.

In the wake of the stabbing, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend.

“Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay.”

US President Joe Biden wrote: “Salman Rushdie — with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced — stands for essential, universal ideals. Truth. Courage. Resilience.

“The ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society.”

The Satanic Verses was banned in Iran after its 1988 release, considered blasphemous, and in 1989, Iran’s then-leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the execution of the British-Indian author. Multiple assassination attempts on Rushdie followed. A bounty of $3 million was also offered for Rushdie’s killing. The Iran government has since distanced itself from the decree, but in 2012 an Iranian religious foundation upped the bounty to $3.3 million.