Salman Rushdie stabbed in New York

Author Salman Rushdie

Reuters

Renowned author and free-speech activist Salman Rushdie, 75, was stabbed by an unknown assailant Friday during a speaking engagement in New York. A statement from New York state police released about an hour after the incident said Rushdie suffered “an apparent stab wound to the neck.” He was immediately transported by helicopter to an area hospital, and his condition was “not yet known.” The Indian-born writer is no stranger to death threats: In 1989, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered a “fatwa,” (an Islamic legal pronouncement) calling on Muslims to kill Rushdie after he published “The Satanic Verses.” Many Muslims considered the novel – inspired by the life of the prophet Mohammed – to be blasphemous. Rushdie lived in the UK, where he had British security service protection for over a decade – and for good reason: the Japanese translator of the book was murdered in 1991, while the Norwegian and Italian publishers were also attacked. In 2002, Rushdie moved to the US. While the threat to his life has remained serious – there’s still a $4 million bounty on his head – it hasn’t stopped Rushdie from writing or taking speaking engagements, or from viewing the threats with a dose of levity.

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