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The attack on Salman Rushdie

The Rationalist International condemns the horrific attack on author Salman Rushdie which took place on the 12th of August 2022.

Award-winning author Salman Rushdie was about to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York, where he was repeatedly stabbed onstage. The attacker jumped on the stage and stabbed Rushdie in several places. He was immediately hospitalized and was put on a ventilator.

As reported by CNN, “The author's injuries include three stab wounds to the right side of the front of his neck, four stab wounds to his stomach, a puncture wound to his right eye and chest, and a laceration on his right thigh, according to the county prosecutor”. On Saturday, Rushdie started speaking again but he has severe liver and nerve damage.

French President, Emmanuel Macron came out in support of the author Salman Rushdie. He tweeted, “For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism. He has just been the victim of a cowardly attack by the forces of hatred and barbarism. His fight is our fight; it is universal. Now more than ever, we stand by his side.”

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson also tweeted, “Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend”.

After making a statement in support of Rushdie, author JK Rowling received death threats, “You Are Next” from the supporter of Rushdie’s attacker.

Rushdie’s attacker has been identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, from New Jersey. The attacker has been charged with second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury with a deadly weapon, to which he pleads not guilty.

Salman Rushdie has encountered death threats since 1988 for his controversial book "The Satanic Verses". When the book was first published three decades ago, it immediately had an outrageous response from the Islamic community. In 1989, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa (a religious ruling) to kill the author.

The 75-year-old author has spent many years in hiding because of the fatwa. There is a bounty of $3m offered to anyone who kills the author. In 1991, Rushdie’s Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarashi was stabbed to death.

Rationalist International condemns the attack on Salman Rushdie and reaffirms its resolution for freedom of expression.


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